You arrive at work already tired as you have woken early to complete the chores at home which are necessary for an only daughter in a household of brothers. As you make your way to your desk you watch the men scrolling through their news feeds on their mobile phones. You can’t do this as you are still saving for one. The desk next to you is empty as your female colleague has been removed from her post for drinking alcohol at an office party. You start your working day providing coffee for your male colleagues who thank you with an affectionate pat on the backside. You proceed to your boss’s office, a man, who introduces you to his business partner as “the other woman in my life”. You spend the morning doing work which does not challenge you and wondering whether you can afford the toiletries which are priced higher than equivalent mens’ products even though your salary is half that of the man in the same role. In the afternoon you are interviewed for a more senior role – the interview is abruptly terminated when you struggle to answer yes to the question whether you will be able to work long hours in the evening.
Most of us are lucky enough not to experience this kind of gender disparity in our jobs but remember that this is the reality for many women across the globe. And we are still a long way from gender equality in the UK. While 69% of UK women enrol in tertiary education compared with 51% of men, women only occupy 35% of managerial roles compared with 65% of men and are paid only 68% of men’s salaries.
According to the World Economic Forum it will take another 117 years to achieve global gender parity and this forecast was downgraded from 2014 when they estimated it would only take until 2095. So we are going backwards in our already tortoise like progress. What can we do to accelerate it?
The progressive company EY (Ernst & Young) identified 3 accelerators:
- Accelerator #1 - Illuminate the path to leadership: make career opportunities more visible to women
- Accelerator #2 - Speed up culture change with progressive corporate policy
- Accelerator #3 - Build supportive environments and work to eliminate conscious and unconscious bias
EY developed a digital platform showing statistics which demonstrate why gender parity is good for business and asked their employees across the globe to pledge for parity. http://www.internationalwomensday.com/Activity/3968/EY
We can all help accelerate global gender parity. Consult your colleagues at work and see if you can emulate EY’s example. The time is now.