Saturday, March 11, 2017
The 2017 International Women's Day has just been observed the world over with various events marking the day. Activities, such as protests, strikes, calls to action, serve to underscore the continuing struggle for gender equality, an end to violence against women, and respect for women's human rights.
A one-day strike was held in the United States, the “Day Without a Woman” organized in the same spirit of love and liberation that inspired the Women's March, to dramatize the value of women; hence, the call to refrain from work and shopping to demonstrate their economic strength and political clout.
It's a day of rejoicing, too, for International Women's Day is meant to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.
Indeed, despite all their great accomplishments and contributions to make the world a better place, women still have to struggle with disparity and injustice: receiving lower wages and experiencing greater inequities, vulnerability to discrimination, sexual harassment and job insecurity"
Thus, it is not only fitting, but more so, essential that women get together to demonstrate their transforming power for diversity to be working well in society. As “A Day Without a Woman” has shown, everything would grind almost to a halt if there were no women. Women are part of the equation.
From time past until today, the world is replete with amazing stories of the power of women, of how they can transform society for the better.. Here are 5 present-day women, among countless of them all over, who are doing so.
Yet because of traditional roles and stereotypes women are mostly relegated to the home, or to caretaker occupations.
This traditional role of fostering and nurturing others ensued from various sources, but the results are a decrease in the value of work done by women and a decreased ability to work outside the home. This is paired with the societal expectation of the woman to take care of the home and family, and with that the lack of male support in the caretaking of the home. This all leads to the expectation that women have responsibilities in the home and often plays a part in occupational sexism.
Here are some hard facts on how women fare, from UNESCO:
* By 2016, fewer than half of the countries in the world had achieved the goal of gender parity in both primary and secondary education (UNESCO);
* 35% of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual violence in their lives (UN, 2015);
* Nearly two thirds of illiterate people are women, a proportion that has remained unchanged for two decades (UN, 2015);
* Women make up only 23.3% of Parliamentarians worldwide (IPU, 2017);
* Women account for two thirds of the world's poorest citizens (UNESCO, 2014);
* Women are underrepresented in scientific and technological disciplines. Only 29% of the world’s researchers are women (UNESCO, 2014)
As already noted above, it is often expected in many countries that women take on the domestic responsibilities and chores, and while many women do so, especially in more traditional cultures, these responsibilities and chores are unpaid work.
However, as the UN noted:
What is the real value of unpaid work? Around the world, women do the vast majority of the unpaid work, including child care, cooking, cleaning and farming. This unpaid work is essential for households and economies to function, but it is also valued less than paid work. UN Women expert Shahra Razavi reveals the real value of unpaid care, and how we can reduce the burden on women by tackling entrenched stereotypes. - See more at:
In Western cultures, this traditional arrangement wherein the husband is the breadwinner and the wife takes charge of the household is changing is no longer the norm, as more and more women are opting to get a job and pursue their own careers. Yet career women still carry the main burden of managing the household, not to mention child rearing.
Many women quit their jobs or careers in favor of taking care of their growing families. This is one factor others say women are often bypassed for promotions, or are not paid equally as their male peers.
These are just some of the travails confronting women today, and many stem from embedded sexism. Despite the strides and achievements women have reached, society and culture still expect men to enjoy more freedom at home and outside. Many conjugal disputes arise from unfair division of labor at home.
Thus, inequality starts in the home, but there is a need to change this narrative, and transform people's mindset. And change should also start right at home. Girls should be taught that they too can pursue their life's purpose.
"We need to send a message to every girl that she is valuable, powerful, and deserving of every chance and opportunity to pursue and achieve her own dreams," as Hillary Clinton said.
The sad reality in many places is that boys are brought up to believe they are the stronger sex; hence the male dominance and feelings of superiority that still prevail.
Importance of Gender Equality
Gender equality benefits the economy. Here's what a MckKinsey article said about this advantage:
In a new report, The power of parity: Advancing women’s equality in the United States, the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) finds that every US state and city can add at least 5 percent to their GDP in that period by advancing the economic potential of women. Half of US states have the potential to add more than 10 percent, and the country’s 50 largest cities can increase GDP by 6 to 13 percent.
Another report said:
If women’s participation in the workforce increased, it would transform the global economy for the better. One study projects that if the female employment in the U.S. matched the male rates, our overall GDP would rise by 5 percent. In Japan, the GDP would jump by 9 percent. Addressing the education gap would be a good way to start to achieve these figures. The Council on Foreign Relations estimates that each country’s GDP grows by 3 percent for every additional 10 percent of girls going to school.
One feminist wrote that empowering women is just the right thing to do, and it is probably among the most efficient things any country can do to develop society.
Indeed. Women have the power to transform the world. They have tremendous capacity to make the world better. Without women, economies will not grow as much, for gender diversity drives economic success, among others. But mindsets need to transform as well, as the struggle for gender equality goes on.
Posted by Your Diversity Career Consultant at 10:34:00 AM