The International Women’s Day 2018 theme is ‘Press for Progress‘ and when women essentially start working for free from Sep 22nd till the end of the year due to the gender pay gap, there is still a lot of progress needed! Canada ranks as the 7th most unequal country out of the top 34 industrialized countries for gender pay gap. Statistics show it will take us another 170 years before the gender pay gap could be closed.
These issues for equality are so important not only for women and future generations, but it also impacts everyone and our economy as a study done by Price Waterhouse Cooper predicted Canada’s GDP would increase $105 billion if it closed the wage gap. International Women’s Day brings awareness and education so we can plan for progress!
Press for Progress – How?
How do we progress in gender equality and what needs to be done in order for progress to be felt? The first place and people we need to engage in the path to progress are simultaneously both the government and the leaders of companies world wide. When the government acknowledges and enforces equality in the work place, mandatory shifts will start to take place at a level of recognition no one can ignore. However, knowing the speed of bureaucracy to bring about change, corporations and leaders everywhere can take immediate action for positive progress in equality.
Corporate Contributions to Progress
Corporations and leaders everywhere can make a decision today for equality to be an initiative in their culture that is a foundation of the essence of their company. Not only will this attract top talent, but there are many ways it will increase their profit margins as well. Gender inequality has substantial economic costs. Companies and global economies need to respond to gender equality with action because studies have shown that if women were to participate equally in the economy to men, the annual GDP would increase $28 Trillion dollars or approximately 26% by 2025.
What can a company do to mandate gender equality? The leaders of a company first need to make a decision to place equality as a priority in the operations and culture of their company. Then they need to define what this looks like in terms of hiring, promotion, leadership, pay equity, and culture creation. Their vision for diversity and inclusion needs to be communicated at all levels of their company and a conversation about gender equality needs to be started and pursued. Lastly there needs to be systems or structures in place to track the progress of equality in their company.
Men’s Role in Progress to Equality
There may be fear, indifference, or even confusion or lack of awareness around what, if any, role men have in the press for progress on gender equality. A conversation and communication needs to be started on what gender equality means for men and how it impacts them. We need to answer the questions they have and address their fears. Men play a crucial role in the progress towards equality. As leaders, managers, supervisors and team members their values and voice can stand with and for equality. We need them to encourage, promote, include, and invite equality into their work day and their leadership presence. One action, word, sentence, and decision by men can impact gender equality.
Women’s Leadership for Equality
Every women has the ability to be an advocate for change on gender equality no matter her profession, position, income, or perceived power. It takes a community to make change, but it takes only one to start and add to the fight for positive progress. We may not be able to create change on our own, but every women who stands in solidarity for her own equality is advancing the stagnant, suffocating ceilings that limit not only our own potential, but also those of our entire family, communities, and economy.
We must press for progress in the following ways:
- Educate ourselves on average salaries and value our worth
- Ask for raises, negotiate raises, and ask for what we are worth
- Apply for jobs and leadership positions that we might not normally
- Take a seat at the table, Own and step into our power
- Mentor and sponsor young women
- Advocate, educate, and become activists for progress
- Lead, become leaders and elevate other women leaders
- Create communities, pathways, and a legacy for women to thrive in
The Press for Progress Benefits All
Imagine a world where gender equality existed and how that would impact the world. Let’s start at the smallest, but potentially the most profound group that would be impacted and that is the family unit. When women make more money, more children and youth will receive a better education and there is less stress and improved lifestyle for the whole family. Then, imagine how communities would change when women gain gender equality. Studies show that women give more back to their communities financially so when they have more to give, the whole community prospers.
Lastly and most important for companies to embrace, when there is gender equality in corporate america and even when there is only an increase to 30% of women CEO’s on boards and in upper management, profit margins increase 6 percentage points. Imagine what the 6% equates to in dollars and what would happen if the representation grew to 50% of females in upper management?
Imagine that impact of a $28 trillion dollar increase to the global GDP for countries and the world when gender equality is reached.
And so you have to wonder, what is the hold up and why is this not advancing as fast as we can possibly press it? If we were to run it like a company, there would be a global committee managing and mandating the change for the world; then every country would have its own equality leadership team which would set the vision, guidelines, and time frames to implement this profoundly positive transformation. The rewards of economic profit would most likely be enough to enforce the mandate, but if not a system of accountability could track and regulate this much needed advancement.
Now it is over to you and what you can do to press for progress. What actions can you take in your company, as a leader, in your community, or for your children? Where can you make a forward step and leave your footprint in the march forward toward gender equality? Progress can occur with your involvement, your voice, your actions, and your decision to press for it.
Let us know how you will press for progress or what it means to you and what you think needs and can be done to reach our goal of gender equality?