The reason why capitalists were so attracted by women’s labour during the industrial revolution is its lower price and the submissiveness of women. Does it seem familiar?
According to the European Parliament’s report women are still paid less, in the EU there is a 17 % gender pay gap, this means that for every € 100 that men earn, women earn €83. Women receive lower pensions and are less represented in top corporate posts and politics. Women represent 5 % of Chief Executive Officers (CEOs), 7 % of presidents and 23 % of board members. Currently, only approximately one in five members of lower or single houses of parliament worldwide is a woman.
According to UN Women Infographic women can experience many forms of discriminations. Some women can experience a form that others don’t, it depends on the place of birth and living, the age, religion, race and ethnicity, sexual orientation, economical and social status. These are still the main problems about women having equal opportunities, yet gender discriminations against women and gender-based stereotypes persist in many social practices. In families the head of households are mostly men, one in three women worldwide has experienced physical and sexual harassment. Yet in 29 countries is applied the female genital mutilation and this is accepted as a social practice and 140 million of women suffer the arranged marriage by families.
For this year’s International Women's Day the European Parliament highlights the issue of women’s economic empowerment. This is a long transformational process which aim is to bring women towards an increasing access over the economic assets and decisions. But this is also a process towards women awareness and the way they perceive inequalities and discriminations. In fact, making change requires change in individuals, communities, institutions, markets and in all those value majors related to political and legal authorities. It is not uncommon that women unpaid or less paid at work remain informal for fear, resignation or for a lack of awareness. But one thing is sure, women’s economic empowerment cannot be achieved whilst significant gender gaps in women’s paid and unpaid work and fields exist globally. It's evident the gender gap in technical roles is even more pronounced, women represent around a third of the tech workforce and we still hear of sexual harassment, i.e. the last weeks scandals around the Silicon Valley.
These are the resolutions proposed: raising the women’s share of household income has been shown to benefit children through education and health. Increasing the level and stability of women’s income reduces the household poverty family vulnerability to economic shocks. Gender equality has significant positive effects on economic growth and national competitiveness. Companies with greater gender equality demonstrate increased ability to innovate as well as to attract, retain and motivate female workers. Women’s leadership in management positions has been also shown to boost organizational effectiveness and financial performance. Gender equality is not only a human right aim, there are economical and business related evidences.
A recent research published by Harvard Business Review clairly shows a direct correlation between a group’s intelligence and the number of women in the group. It is also important to look at the organizational cultures and identify strategies for attracting more women into technology roles, for example, by providing coaching and mentoring programs to support female technology leaders. Companies have to put diversity at the top of the strategic agenda. There is no more time. Several companies such as Vodafone have declared they are going to promote specific programs towards gender inclusion and equality.
So, women ask you to take a stand and fast move forward!
‘Empowering women economically is not only the “right thing” to do to honour the world’s commitments to human rights. It is also the “smart thing” to do for development, economic growth and business’.
"We cannot all succed when half of us is held back" Malala Yousafzai