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Better the balance, better the world

Alongside the current hot topics such as Brexit, trade wars, climate change, privacy concerns etc. there is an increased awareness of gender equality as a business issue. Organizations are reassessing their gender equality policies. However, even in 2019, we are reminded that equity is still far from reach. Equality is a notion that surpasses gender; it is a human rights issue. Traditionally, women have received lower wages compared to men, and the problem continues to this day regardless of major steps that have been taken. According to the 2018 World Economic Forum report about The Global Gender Gap, the most gender-equal country to date is Iceland. It has closed over 85% of its overall gender gap, followed by Norway with 83.5%, Sweden and Finland with 82.2%. Generally, since 2006 the gender gap has been reduced by 3.6%.

According to the OECD, the economy could grow by an extra 10% by 2030 if the true potential of women is unleashed, adding an extra €200 billion of economic growth globally. Regardless of the growing women’s movements and increased attention on the gender pay gap, research shows little progress on closing the gender wage gap. According to the World Economic Forum Annual Gender Gap Report, at the current rate of change, it will take 108 years to narrow the global gender gap and 202 years to bring equality in the workplace. There are certainly numerous reasons behind the slow progress. One of these factors is how women in leadership are perceived by society.

Embracing parity and diversity is not only the right thing to do – it is beneficial for business and the economy. Organizations that commit to prioritizing diversity and inclusion are not only setting the standard for the industries – they are earning strategic and cultural benefits by attracting and retaining top talent, creating an open and transparent environment that empowers employees to innovate, delivering better customer service, and driving a higher return on investment for stakeholders. All these are linked to a culture of equity, diversity, and inclusion.

The gender pay gap, so much more than just a number, is an opportunity to focus on diversity and inclusion as a tool for improving organizations. Gender pay gap figures shine a light on how well workplace equality is being addressed.

As the International Women’s Day approaches it is important to continuously be reminded of the actions we should make towards supporting gender equality and the empowerment of women. Gender equality is also one of the development goals of the UN platform “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. This agenda follows the concept of ‘leaving no one behind‘, because equality cannot be achieved if all humans do not have full access to human rights and equal opportunities.

One of the most powerful examples of gender equality commitment is the HeForShe global movement by the United Nations. This movement is a call for people to commit for an equal world, and until now millions of people around the world have become part of the movement. The UN Goodwill Ambassador, Emma Watson, which launched the campaign in 2014, delivered a powerful speech, where she turned the public attention to the gender double standards that many women encounter when they work and study. “So importantly right now, the experience must make it clear, that the safety of women, of minorities and anyone who may be vulnerable, is a right and not a privilege.” Further, she continued: “…a right that will be respected by a community that believes and supports survivors and recognizes that when one person feels their safety has been violated, everyone feels their own safety has been violated.”

So, what’s better than to inspire ourselves to understand and support the idea of gender equality, and create meaningful change in our communities?

What we share is more powerful than what divides us!

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