The good news is that the gender gap is beginning to close, as women all around the world continue to contribute to social, economic, cultural and political achievement. The bad news is that progress is going slowly – VERY slowly. Recent estimates have shown that at current rates of progress we won’t see full gender parity until the year 2133. For those of you who don’t want to wait 117 years for gender parity, International Women’s Day is a catalyst point for making your voices heard!
So how do we want to celebrate International Women’s Day 2016? By Pledging For Parity! Please take a moment and visit the online page, and take the Pledge For Parity.
This online pledge is just one concrete example of how digital platforms and networks are helping to accelerate gender parity. Digital analytics confirm the role women play in the home sphere as the chief health officer, overseeing the family’s health, wellness, and pocketbook. Decisions around major purchases, health insurance, healthcare and appointments, children’s education, and more are all made by women alone or with major influence as the co-head of household. However, according to She-conomy.com, even though 85% of all brand purchases are made by women, just 3% of advertising creative directors are women.
Fortunately, digital platforms for connection, learning, and empowerment are beginning to put a powerful spotlight on this imbalance. This video, featuring a discussion between Ernst & Young executive Karyn Twaronite and Catalyst CEO Deborah Gillis, is one example exploring how to accelerate the pace of women’s advancement in the workplace. This is a wonderful story of one woman’s trajectory, and it advises not to make assumptions about talents and any individual’s talent and potential.
Meanwhile, while women are gaining position and influence in a number of spheres, the glass ceiling – broadly defined to include dimensions critical to women’s equal motivation to engage in a work career – is still very much a reality, especially in the United States.
In my native Denmark, for example, women have an average of 27 weeks of paid leave in full-time equivalent for an average worker, while in the US women had an average of zero weeks in full-time equivalent. In Denmark, 25% of board positions are held by women; in the US, the number is 14%. And on a personal note I can report that as a result of better access to day care and with more than 90% of mothers of young families working, it is accepted that parents share family responsibilities. Government subsidized child care facilities close at 6 p.m. or earlier, and it is acceptable to have to decline meetings after 4:30 p.m. if you have to pick up the kids
So, as we celebrate the important role of women on International Women’s Day, let’s use all the digital tools at our disposal to shorten those 117 years! Let’s be inspired to use the new media and resources at our disposal to give women a voice, knowledge and support to follow their unique paths to reaching their full potential and help create a healthier, more equitable society.
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