5 Things Leaders Can Do To Address Inequality & The #GenderPayGap
“We have to free half of the human race, the women, so that they can help to free the other half.”
Bold rhetoric from Emmeline Pankhurst during the height of the #suffragettes movement. True to her word, Pankhurst’s spirited revolution over 100 years ago, was the defining catalyst for a step change in women’s rights throughout the world,
Ever since the suffragette movement first catapulted women’s rights to the top of every global government agenda over 100 years ago, there have been peaks and troughs of progress and setbacks.
Recent statistics gained from the World Economic Forum suggest basic gender gaps could take up to 83 years to close at current rates. These latest statistics fly in the face of the UN target of achieving gender equality as one of the UN’s 17 sustainable development goals by 2030.
As it stands today there are a number of shocking statistics highlighting there is still a long way to go.
· Globally, women earn 24% less than men and on average
· One in three women worldwide are exposed to physical or sexual violence from a partner in their lifetime
· Women spend twice as much time on household chores than men, and four times as much time on childcare.
(Source — The Guardian Oct 2016)
· Women spend at least twice as much time as men on domestic work, and when all work — paid and unpaid — is considered, women work longer hours than men. (The World’s Women 2015)
· In 2013, the global employment-to-population ratio was 72% for men and 47% for women. (International Labour Organization, 2014)
· Worldwide women are paid less than men, in most countries earning on average 60–75% of men’s wages. (World Bank Gender Data Portal, 2015)
· Women bear disproportionate caring responsibility for children, the elderly and the sick, spending twice to ten times more time a day on unpaid care work than men. (World Bank, 2012)
· In a study of 173 countries 155 have at least one legal difference restricting women’s economic opportunities. Of those, 100 have laws that restrict the types of jobs that women can do, and in 18 husbands can prevent their wives from accepting jobs. (World Bank, 2015)
· Over 700 million women alive today were married when they were under 18, and of those some 250 million were married before they were 15. (UNICEF, 2014)
· Around 1 in 10 (120 million) girls worldwide have experienced sexual violence at some point in their lives. (UNICEF, 2014)
· At least 200 million girls and women alive today living in 30 countries have undergone female genital mutilation. (UNICEF, 2016)
· Globally, women make up just 23.3% of parliamentarians. (Inter-Parliamentary Union, 2017) In January 2017, there were 10 women serving as Head of State and 9 as Head of Government. (UN Women calculation based on information provided to Permanent Missions to the United Nations)
· In June 2016, there were 38 countries in which women make up less than 10% of parliamentarians in single or lower houses, including 4 countries with no women at all in both chambers. (Inter-Parliamentary Union and UN Women, 2016)
· In January 2015, only 17% of government ministers globally were women. (Inter-Parliamentary Union, 2015)
· In June 2016, only two countries have 50% or more women in parliament in single or lower houses. 46 single or lower houses were composed of more than 30% women, including 14 in Sub-Saharan Africa and 11 in Latin America. Out of these 46 countries, 40 had applied some form of quotas. (Inter-Parliamentary Union and UN Women, 2016)*
*Source — Action Aid 2017
In order to stem the flow of these seeping imbalances, it is imperative that governments and businesses take a lead on reducing gender inequality.
If countries increase national female participation rates to match the best in their region, it is anticipated that it could add as much as £9.9 trillion or 11% to the global economy by 2025.* (*Source — McKinsey 2016)
So what can businesses and government do to promote gender equality?
*Graph Source - Marketing Week 2017
1. Business leaders must promote employment policies that encourage women to succeed.
2. More businesses and leaders must offer equal paternity/maternity leaves.
3. Governments must offer higher quality, subsidized childcare.
4. Government should legally stipulate that all businesses should encourage quotas for senior female executives.
5. Governments and business should work together to guarantee an Equal Pay Policy structure.
While we have so much to thank #EmmelinePankhurst for, it’s time for another global revolution to address gender inequality. This time it’s up to business leaders and governments to grab the bull by the horns and make the vast improvements so urgently needed.
Does your organisation do a good job at promoting gender equality?
If so, do let us know, firstname.lastname@example.org