As the #IWD2017 leaders tell us:
Each one of us – with women, men and non-binary people joining forces – can be a leader within our own spheres of influence by taking bold pragmatic action to accelerate gender parity. Through purposeful collaboration, we can help women advance and unleash the limitless potential offered to economies the world over.
If you’ve never experienced or even witnessed gender inequality, I imagine you’re wondering why women are not able to unleash their limitless potential, because they’re so amazing, and from what you’ve seen women seem to have it OK…
Yet, all you have to do is bear witness to how many women across the globe took a stand against gender inequality with particular onus this year on equal pay to realise that with that many passionate women heralding your newsfeed there simply must be an issue with inequality – we don’t just protest for a laugh and disrupt the institutions that rely heavily on the underpaid labours of women by striking.
So why is the world still failing in 2017, an age we think of as advanced and modern, at gender equality?
Let us not forget that Virginia Woolf thought the early 1900s was a very modern and advanced era, and she wrote in A Room of One’s Own how she hoped that in 100 years time women would no longer be the protected sex, but rather of equal ranking. In 12 years time, we will have reached that 100 year mark. Do you think that in 12 years time, 2029, we will have been able to attain equality?
To help you envision how far off we are from attaining this here are a small number of facts, as stated in the National Geographic’s Special Gender Issue:
- The US has $0 maternity pay
- The US has a near total ban on abortion giving the Government the majority of the control over women’s bodies
- 120 million girls around the world have experienced sexual violence
- Suicide is the leading cause of death for girls age 10-19 globally
- Some 200 million girls and women today have endured genital mutilation
- Just 18% of the world’s firms have a female manager or CEO
- Over 700 million women and girls alive today were married before their 18th birthday
It isn’t until you dive deeper into finding out what women worldwide are going through to see why gender equality is still a reason to strike.
Unless you’re in Iceland…
Iceland has been declared number 1 /109 countries in The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report for reaching gender equality. Using over a decades worth of data on educational attainment, health and survival, economic participation, and political empowerment, Iceland has paved the gender equality pathway for all governments to follow.
The report declared Yemen at 109 / 109, the UK at 17th, New Zealand at 9th, Australia at 30th, and the US at 24th.
Gender equality does not, of course, just mean women and men, but all genders. This includes gender binary, gender fluid, non-binary, LGBTQ, and so on; all genders is my point. Imagine the potential that could be reached worldwide, not just economically, but in EVERYTHING if we all accepted each other and removed the polarised gender roles and cultural ideals associated with “he” and “she” for putting people into gender defined roles.
Let’s take a leaf out of Sweden’s book regarding maternity and paternity leave. The Government gives families the option to divide the leave 50/50 with financial incentives. Some men are taking the role of stay at home father so women can return to work and have a career, as well as a family. However, here they’ve witnessed gender inequality as men become stereotyped as ‘latte-pappor’, latte-dads, and so only 14% of father’s take it on.
The world could be a greater place if we were accepting and inclusive of all genders. It would possibly open up more peaceful and violent free communities with all genders offering their unique attributes and skills for greater worldwide successes. As Gloria Steinham says, “the less polarised the gender roles, the more peaceful the society”.
I have the magazine, but if you’re interested you can find out more here.