Please see below recent gender-related change.
- The pandemic put intense pressure on companies to do more to support employees and act on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Women leaders often took on the extra work that comes with it, but they’re not getting recognised or rewarded for it. As a result, this mission-critical work is in danger of being relegated to “office housework”. Necessary tasks and activities that benefit the company but go unrecognised, are underappreciated, and don’t lead to career advancement, according to the 2021 Women in the Workplace report by LeanIn.org and McKinsey.
- From consumption habits to responsive actions, research suggests that women are the 'greener gender'. For instance, women have a lower carbon footprint than men due to their smaller consumption of meat and lower use of cars. Despite that, they remain underrepresented in 'green jobs,' as women's participation in the power and utilities sector for example remains below 25% of the total workforce, according to EY.
- A report by UNESCO found that despite attempts across the world to provide more gender balance in school textbooks, women were under-represented or absent even in high-income countries such as Australia. The depictions also relied on traditional gender stereotypes such as men as doctors and women as nurses. Another analysis of secondary school textbooks from Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan and Bangladesh found in 2018 that while representation of women was around 32 per cent, they were still shown to be subservient, with women presented in domestic roles four times more than their male counterparts.
- Most G20 nations had made progress on increasing women’s participation rates, but the pandemic unravelled it. Women were disproportionately hit harder when it comes to unemployment, and shouldered the larger burden of unpaid work.
- Worsened by a pandemic that had an outsized impact on female workers, the time it will take to close the global gender gap increased from 99 years to 135 years, according to the global gender report produced by the World Economic Forum. Women around the world lost their jobs at a higher rate than men, 5% vs 3.9% among men, and sectors where job opportunities are growing are significantly underrepresented by women. In cloud computing, for example, women make up just 14% of the workforce and in engineering they comprise 20% of workers.
- The Futures Centre had identified a trend it called ‘The Female Century’ - referencing the wealth of indicators that nearly all pointed in one direction - towards the steadily increasing emancipation of women. But now, in the wake of COVID-19, that trend has taken a serious hit. A lot of signals now point in a very different direction - the risk of a 25 year setback in gender equality, globally, noted GZERO Media.
- Violence against women skyrocketed across the world since the start of the pandemic, said Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women, explaining that COVID-19 has turned back the clock on the global fight for gender equality and the toll that it has taken on girls, in particular. In fact, the UN estimates that as many as 11 million girls who left school because of the pandemic will never return. At the same time, it is women primarily who have been getting the world through the worst pandemic, as they occupy the majority of frontline and healthcare jobs.
- Women make up just over half the human population, and yet the overwhelming majority of policymakers and political leaders in the world's governments are men. In fact, there are just three countries on earth where women make up more than 50% of the national legislature, and only 23 countries out of 193 UN member states in which a woman is either head of state or head of government. While some countries have introduced gender quotas at various stages in the electoral process as a bid to increase female participation, there's lots of progress still to be made, noted GZERO Media.
- Bulgaria was named the best country in Europe for women's career prospects, according to a study by marketing firm Reboot Online. Countries were compared on a range of measures that facilitate women’s careers, including the gender pay gap, access to leadership roles and maternity leave.
- Volvo Cars launched a gender neutral parental leave policy for its global workforce following a two-year trial. Any new parent who has been at the firm for at least a year can take 24 weeks off within the first three years at 80% of their pay. The Swedish carmaker used to follow local policies, which created big discrepancies among staff. The “Family Bond” programme is meant to help the company attract and retain talent as well as drive up female management by reducing the stigma of taking time off.
- During the Covid-19 crisis, Harvard Business Review heard anecdotally about women leaders doing a better job and research seems to back that up. One study found that outcomes related to Covid-19, including number of cases and deaths, were systematically better in countries led by women. Another looked at governors in the U.S. and similarly found that states with female leaders had lower fatality rates.
- Listed companies in Germany will be required to have at least one woman on management boards that have more than three members. The German government decided to set a mandatory quota for women in executive positions after voluntary commitments to gender equality failed to bring meaningful change. Women take up 12.8% of leadership roles on German blue-chip firms, according to a 2020 survey, compared with 28.6% in the US, 24.9% in Sweden, 24.5% in the UK and 22.2% in France. German business groups criticised the move, calling it unnecessary interfering in private companies.
- Pay disparities between men and women grew in several European countries, data from the European Trade Union Confederation showed. In nine countries, including Ireland, Poland and Portugal, the gender pay gap got wider, while progress elsewhere was so slow that equality would not be achieved for decades if current trends continued. French women would be waiting 1,000 years, as the pay gap only moved from 15.6% in 2010 to 15.5% in 2018. In the UK, equality would take 58 years. Quickest in Europe would be Romania, which would see gender pay equality by 2022 if progress continues at the same rate.
- The McKinsey Global Institute issued The power of parity: How advancing women’s equality can add $12 trillion to global growth. MGI’s report showed that gender inequities are not only a moral and social conundrum but also an economic one: women accounted for half the world’s working-age population but for only 37 percent of GDP. That discrepancy robs the global economy of $12 trillion in wealth we could share if each country improved gender equality as quickly as the fastest-improving country in its region did. True gender equality everywhere would raise global GDP by up to $28 trillion.
- The economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic would push 47 million women and girls into poverty in 2021. A UN report said that more women than men have lost their jobs due to COVID-19, while women and girls at most risk of becoming poor are those in subsistence-level occupations in the informal sector in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa.
- In a major step towards greater gender equality in sport, Brazil's football association announced that women playing for the national football team will get paid the same as the members of the men's squad. Brazil follows women's national football team players winning the right to equal pay with their male counterparts in Australia, Norway, New Zealand and the UK.
- At least 740 million women, 58 percent of the global female labor force, are employed in the "informal economy" — jobs that are not officially registered and therefore are mostly not eligible for benefits or social safety net provisions. (Nearly a fifth of all workers in the US have jobs in the informal sector, according to GZEROMedia.)
- By McKinsey's calculation, women’s jobs are 1.8 times more vulnerable to the coronavirus crisis than men’s jobs. Women make up 39 percent of global employment but account for 54 percent of overall job losses. One reason for this greater effect on women is that the virus is significantly increasing the burden of unpaid care, which is disproportionately carried by women. This, among other factors, means that women’s employment is dropping faster than average, even accounting for the fact that women and men work in different sectors
- Indeed, research shows that women also still shoulder the majority of unpaid domestic care work. That means that in places where schools and daycares were (or are) closed, childcare responsibilities have overwhelmingly fallen on women, preventing them from re-entering the workforce. There's precedent for this, too. Data shows that after the recent Ebola epidemic in Africa (2013-2016), women were disproportionately affected by job losses and took way longer to land steady jobs again after the crisis.
- More men than women use the internet in all regions of the world except in the Americas. The digital gender gap is actually growing in some parts of the world, and almost nowhere is it more glaring than in India, where conservative attitudes in some parts of the country ban women and girls from using smartphones or social media, reported GZEROMedia.
- August 2020 marked the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment to the US Constitution, through which American women won the right to vote in federal and state elections. After New Zealand pioneered universal suffrage in 1893, almost all other countries followed suit - although in many cases, the right to vote was not extended to all women in society until many years later.
- As COVID-19 continues to affect lives and livelihoods around the world, McKinsey warned that the pandemic and its economic fallout are having a regressive effect on gender equality. By our calculation, women’s jobs are 1.8 times more vulnerable to this crisis than men’s jobs. Women make up 39 percent of global employment but account for 54 percent of overall job losses. One reason for this greater effect on women is that the virus is significantly increasing the burden of unpaid care, which is disproportionately carried by women.
- An essayist for Vox never realised how much urban planning is centred around male breadwinners until she got pregnant. Suddenly, just trying to get to work every day became a daunting expedition, and things didn’t improve once her child was born. In an essay for Vox, she asked how cities could be designed differently - from transportation to street lights - so women feel more comfortable and safe navigating their streets.
- Across 34 countries surveyed by Pew, a median of 74 percent of respondents agree that it is "very important" for women to have the same rights as men. Western Europe, the US, and Latin America led the pack. The poll also showed that women were more inclined than men to say gender equality is important.
- In previous wars, men represented the combatants, suffered most of the casualties and did virtually all of the killing (of civilian and soldier alike). In the war against coronavirus, the front line is the doctors and nurses - 75% of our warriors are women.
- Women and girls face a “growing crisis” of online harms, with sexual harassment, threatening messages and discrimination making the web an unsafe place to be, warned Sir Tim Berners-Lee. The inventor of the world wide web said the “dangerous trend” in online abuse was forcing women out of jobs, causing girls to skip school, damaging relationships and silencing female opinions, prompting him to conclude that “the web is not working for women and girls”.
- The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women announced its 100,000 Women Campaign, which aims to raise £10 million ($13 million) for women entrepreneurs over the next three years.
- Full-time work generally offers more stability and financial security than part time jobs. Those full-time jobs tend to be more accessible in richer countries, but in every part of the world, regardless of a country's economic output, there is still a wide gap between the full-time employment of men and women. Globally, 36% of men are secure in a full time job, compared with just 21% of women.
- Many leaders claim to care about gender diversity. LinkedIn research shows that 78% of talent professionals say that diversity is a top hiring priority for their company and gender diversity in particular is the number one issue they’re tackling in this area. However, the 2019 Women in the Workplace report by McKinsey showed that while there's been some progress in this area and female representation in the C-suite is on the rise, only one in five executives in the C-suite is a woman today, and women remain underrepresented at all levels.
- Further reading:
- Gender lens investing: More than women on the board - EY
- Grubhub’s map displays female-owned restaurants - Trend Watching
- How to build a company with a gender-balanced ownership - Financial Times
- Skirting the issue - How to deal with board gender quotas - The Economist
- The bad news about women on boards - Financial Times
- The inescapable misogyny of the modern world - UnHerd
- Why Investors React Negatively to Companies That Put Women on Their Boards - HBR
- Women in finance isn't enough, we need more female CFOs - Raconteur
- Studies have shown that, at work, women are significantly less self-assured than men and less likely to self-promote or self-advocate, through fear of negative repercussions. Research continues to find there is no gap between performance or ability in men and women; the difference is a matter of self-perception. For women to continue to smash glass ceilings, confidence is just as important as competence.
- Further reading:
- Advancing women's equality in Africa - McKinsey
- French minister: gender equality must be at the heart of everything - Financial Times
- Making every woman count - The University of Melbourne
- Many of the world’s women are mistreated during childbirth - The University of Melbourne
- More than 150 top companies miss female board target - Financial Times
- What you need to know about gender inequality in the workplace - McKinsey
- Women in the Workplace 2019 - McKinsey
- Further reading:
- A study by the World Bank highlighted the restrictions placed on a woman’s right to work and the regions in which those restrictions are most severe. Of the 187 economies included in the study, countries in the Middle East and North Africa are ranked lowest overall for providing equal opportunities for women who want to work (Saudi Arabia places more restrictions on a woman’s right to work than any other country in the world), largely because moral objections to women in the workplace create significant barriers. Industries in this region also conform to gender stereotypes, with jobs in sectors such as construction and mining seen as suitable only for men.
- Entrepreneurs, analysts and industry leaders alike are now urging gender progression not just as a box-ticking quota exercise, but to make organisations more functional and operationally sound, and ultimately to improve their attractiveness as an investment proposition, as research has consistently demonstrated that gender diversity in the workforce, including management, among suppliers and in community engagement, increases innovation and productivity. It also strengthens supply chains, improves social licence and reduces friction with key community stakeholders.
- Having a few more women on boards across the world – 34% in 2018, 4% up from 2017 – does little to increase female representation at other levels of the company. Tokenism in the workplace also doesn’t address equal pay. In fact, according to a 2018 Equileap report that monitors almost 3,500 companies globally on gender equality, only two could prove they had no gender pay gap overall.
- Can nice women get ahead at work? claimed that when women are friendly and warm at work, they’re often viewed as less competent - while women known for their competence are considered difficult and cold, a double bind is rooted in a culture that associates kindness with femininity and weakness.
- Further reading:
- The age of automation and AI technologies offers new job opportunities and avenues for economic advancement, but women face new challenges overlaid on long-established ones. Between 40 and 160 million women globally may need to transition between occupations by 2030, often into higher-skilled roles. To weather this disruption, women (and men) need to be skilled, mobile, and tech-savvy, but women face pervasive barriers on each, and will need targeted support to move forward in the world of work. McKinsey's The future of women at work: Transitions in the age of automation report found that if women make these transitions, they could be on the path to more productive, better-paid work. (If they cannot, however, they could face a growing wage gap or be left further behind when progress toward gender parity in work is already slow.)
- Further reading:
- Industrial settings, in particular, still struggle to convert the idea of gender equality into tangible evolution. The disparity is not just boardroom related, but perhaps even more pronounced among the general workforce where employment opportunities are most abundant. Entrepreneurs, analysts and industry leaders alike are now urging gender progression not just as a box-ticking quota exercise, but to make organisations more functional and operationally sound, and ultimately to improve their attractiveness as an investment proposition.
- Further reading:
- A move to ‘feminine corporations’ could improve workplaces for all - Financial Times
- FTSE 250’s ‘one and done’ approach to women in boardroom attacked - Financial Times
- If women are so great why don’t more of them run the place? - Financial Times
- The future of women at work: Transitions in the age of automation - McKinsey
- The worst countries in the world to be a woman are mainly places torn apart by war, or societies stifled by centuries of male patriarchy: India currently tops the global ranking of the most dangerous countries for women.
- Swedish automaker Volvo Cars announced the pilot of a gender neutral parental leave policy for sales employees in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Mothers and fathers, same-sex parents, and parents of adopted children will all be offered up to six months of leave at 80% pay, a benefit the company says is the most generous and inclusive in the industry.
- Gender inequality is not only a pressing moral and social issue but also a critical economic challenge. If women - who account for half the world’s working-age population - do not achieve their full economic potential, the global economy will suffer. While all types of inequality have economic consequences, in McKinsey's The power of parity: How advancing women’s equality can add $12 trillion to global growth, report focused on the economic implications of lack of parity between men and women.
- Up to 160 million women globally may need to transition between occupations by 2030, often into higher-skilled roles. To weather this disruption, women (and men) need to be skilled, mobile, and tech-savvy, but women face pervasive barriers on each, and will need targeted support to move forward in the world of work. A McKinsey Global Institute report, The future of women at work: Transitions in the age of automation found that if women make these transitions, they could be on the path to more productive, better-paid work. If they cannot, they could face a growing wage gap or be left further behind when progress toward gender parity in work is already slow.
- The computer science field is so dominated by men that, at current rates of progress it would take until the year 2137 for the number of papers written by women to equal those written by their male colleagues, according to a study cited by Axios Future.
- Further reading:
- The Institute of Art and Ideas noted that, from Facebook's customisable gender option to popstars in drag, the traditional categories of male and female are now being challenged in the mainstream. It asked what would a world beyond gender really look like, and whether it could eradicate inequality or instead embed stereotypes. The alternatives would be to keep gender and fight prejudice, or decide that only a world beyond gender could be both fair and free.
- Further reading:
- For GZEROMedia, International Women's Day offers each year a time to celebrate global progress in securing equal opportunity and rights for women while also recognising the persistent inequalities they still face, For example, in the world of work: in the past half century, the percentage of women in the workplace has doubled in many Western societies. That said, persistent gaps remain in how much men and women earn.
- Indeed, while working conditions have improved significantly since a strike by 15,000 female garment workers in New York City in 1908, which led to the creation of International Women’s Day, but the median pay gap for full-time working women is still around 14% and figures from The Economist’s 2019 glass-ceiling index, which measures where women have the best chance of equal treatment at work, showed that, after decades of improvement, progress for women in the workplace has recently stalled.
- Claiming that there is no such thing as a "female brain", Quartz argued that a neuroscientist’s debunking of a sexist myth could do more for gender equality than any number of feminist manifestos.
- For decades, women have been discriminated against in the modern workplace. Harassed and underpaid, working women have often been forced to accept lower wages, and lower odds of being hired or promoted, and, in spite of progress, this disparity persists today. However, Quartz warned that the gender pay gap is about more than just discrimination. Cultural norms ins some countries may influence a perception that women are less flexible employees who may not stick around.
- The #SafePlaces movement had by 2019 seen more than 300 restaurants and bars in Mexico City commit to offer women shelter if they found themselves in danger. #SafePlaces was a response to rising rates of femicide, harassment and kidnapping in Mexico. Participating establishments trained their staff on how to attend to women in dangerous situations, and committed to let victims call the police or a taxi from their business. Women can find a local #SafePlace in a public Google doc.
- Q, created in 2019, was reportedly the world’s first genderless voice. It was created to end gender bias in AI assistants. Major technology companies, not to mention banks, airlines, hotels and retailers exclusively choose between male and female voices when developing virtual assistants. The creators of Q believe this reinforces a binary view of gender and perpetuates stereotypes. In their words: “As society continues to break down the gender binary, recognising those who neither identify as male nor female, the technology we create should follow”.
- In India on New Year’s Day, 5 million women and girls created a 385-mile long human chain “in support of gender equality.” They have the support of the centre-left local government, but not of Narendra Modi’s ruling BJP, which depends on support from conservative Hindu nationalists, noted GZEROMedia.
- Organisational gender equality is no longer confined to the realm of human resources, but has become a boardroom issue all over the world, as leaders realise the benefits that a balanced workforce can have. Yet there’s no simple fix or approach that can ensure equality is beneficial to organisations, warned Raconteur.
- Quartz reported that women’s share of global wealth is increasing, but there is still work to be done, according to the 2019 Global Wealth Report from Credit Suisse, which found that while the wealth of women has risen in absolute terms, many women still remain at a disadvantage.
- A study measured the effect having children has on a woman’s salary, across six countries. In Germany, after ten years, a typical mother was earning 61% less than she was before she gave birth. In America and Britain it was about 40%, and in Sweden and Denmark 27% and 21% respectively. Men’s earnings in all countries were virtually unaffected by parenthood. Cultural attitudes and public policy largely account for the difference, according to The Economist.
- Further reading:
- From the dawn of computer programming to stem cell research, women have been behind some of the most groundbreaking inventions. While their share of total patentees remains low, the status quo is shifting in many high-tech industries such as biotechnology and chemistry. A Raconteur infographic charted some of the most pioneering female inventors over recent history, and which sectors and countries are leading the charge in representation.
- The global pay gap between men and women will take 202 years to close, because it is so vast and the pace of change so slow, according to the World Economic Forum, which said the gap has narrowed slightly, but the number of women in the professional workplace has fallen.
- The global gender gap in education continues to close. The latest data showed that, in 2016, there were 99.7 girls enrolled in primary and secondary school for every 100 boys. For comparison, in 1986 that number was 85.1.
- Further reading:
- Companies report that they are highly committed to gender diversity. But that commitment has not translated into meaningful progress. The proportion of women at every level in corporate life has hardly changed in some of the most developed countries. Progress isn’t just slow. It’s stalled, found McKinsey in Women in the Workplace 2018, a study conducted in partnership with LeanIn.Org.
- Quartz’s year-long examination of the fight for gender equality at work profiled 50 men around the world and in a variety of fields who opened up to about Me Too, feminism, their biggest insecurities about being a man, and the biased behaviours they would take back if they could.
- About 20% of China’s civil-service jobs explicitly seek male candidates, noted Quartz. Of nearly 10,000 postings analyzed, not a single one stated a preference for women.
- There are currently 20 female heads of state or government in the world. That’s more than double the number from 2005, according to the UN, but it’s still only about 6% of all global leaders.
- Mandating gender quotas on boards is ultimately good for workers. claimed Quartz. In Norway, companies with more female directors saw fewer layoffs during the financial crisis.
- Raconteur argued that the moral argument for a more diverse and inclusive workplace is undeniable, though proving a business case for driving change is less clear. Organisational equality is no longer confined to the realm of human resources, but has become a boardroom issue all over the world. Yet there’s no simple fix or approach that can ensure equality is beneficial to organisations. Change needs to be focused on workplace culture itself and embedded into the business strategy if we are to see any meaningful improvement in gender equality.
- María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés is only the fourth female UN General Assembly president in 73 years. The Ecuadorian politician dedicated her presidency to “all the women of the world,” while other UN leaders decried “the male-dominated world” of tech.
- Misogyny is deeply entrenched at some schools, warned Quartz. Institutions that don’t help boys understand personal accountability are tacitly endorsing sexism.
- Quartz noted that, on average, men die younger than women. Men are also more likely than women to die prematurely, from causes ranging from alcoholism to heart disease to suicide. But a new report from the World Health Organisation found that, in Europe, those problems are particularly acute in countries with the lowest levels of gender equality”.
- Data show that women hit their peak earnings age - the point at which salaries stop growing above inflation - far earlier than men, reported the FT. At the midpoint of 2018, the average age at which annual salaries for women in the US stopped growing was 40, according to data compiled for the Financial Times by salary information website PayScale. Men, on the other hand, were roughly a decade older when they reached peak earnings. The figures were similar in the UK.
- Equal Measures 2030 launched its new Gender Advocates Data Hub - an interactive website that brings together global, regional and national data and influencing products, including EM2030’s SDG Gender Index and Advocate Survey findings. The hub contains data visualisations, stories from the girls and women behind the data, and aims to become a go-to resource for evidence-based policy and advocacy on gender equality and a broader resource for tracking gender and development-related progress.
- Further reading:
- Quartz News travelled to South Korea to explore the symbiotic relationship between the global #MeToo movement and local feminist revolutions around the world.
- The Global Gender Gap Index measures differences between men and women in four key areas: health, education, economics, and politics. According to the World Economic Forum’s analysis of 144 countries, women around the world experience a gap in pay, and with the current rate of progress, the United Nations estimates it will take another 100 years to close the gap.
- The gender employment gap in the technology sector is especially acute. Women earn only 28 percent of computer science degrees and hold only 25 percent of computing jobs. They also hold only 11 percent of executive positions at Silicon Valley companies.
- According to SingularityHub, according to various studies, there is a sharp decline in women’s earnings (men in comparison do not experience the same drop) after the birth of their first child. This has a massive cumulative effect on the gender pay gap as a whole. Mothers are less likely to get offered jobs with significant travel and long hours due to negative perceptions about their ability to take on greater responsibilities. Another major issue is the lack of work flexibility for caregivers, who often want remote work options or flexible hours.
- However, the emerging contingent workforce is providing a much-needed solution to this problem by breaking down physical, geographic, and social barriers within the workforce. Remote work platforms allow millions of women to work from anywhere in the world for anyone in the world. Platforms like SheWorks! and PowerToFly allow women to access remote work opportunities while allowing companies to manage their remote workforce with transparency and accountability.
- Some parents are choosing to raise their children gender-neutral. In How We'll Win: The Next Generation, Quartz examined how more and more parents are abandoning traditional gender norms for their children in hopes of raising a more well-rounded generation.
- However, Quartz also warned that the "best books are rife" with gender bias. An analysis of Booker Prize shortlists found male characters are often doctors while women are portrayed as prostitutes.
- Men and women sleep better in gender-equal societies, claimed Quartz. Sharing the worry over finances and childcare makes both sexes more rested.
- Gender is even more complicated than we thought, according to a cover story for the Atlantic, which deep dived into the struggle of “detransitioners” (the men and women who have transitioned, only to return to the sex of their birth).
- Music streaming platform Spotify teamed up with Fundación Triángulo – a non-profit organisation promoting LGBT and gender equality – to launch an anti-harassment advert that turns the tables on male harassers. The ad features a female voice ‘complimenting’ the listener – afterwards a male voice explains: “You have just been harassed and you have not been able to skip this ad. The same thing happens to women who endure an average of one minute of harassment a day. Do not harass, respect.”
- Many girls today have unprecedented opportunities. Yet around the world, they still face a range of ideological and physical threats. It’s crucial that the next generation of girls is able to meet these challenges and not only survive but thrive, argued Quartz, exploring the big ideas revolutionising how we teach young women to use their strength, take up space, and find their voice.
- However, the World Economic Forum’s latest Global Gender Gap Report found that it will take 100 years to close the global gender gap overall and 217 years to achieve economic parity between women and men.Studies show that the world as a whole could increase global GDP by US$5.3 trillion by 2025 if it closed the gender gap in economic participation even by just 25% over the same period. But we’re seemingly unable to make real lasting progress on this issue,
- Indeed, by recent estimates, still only 15% of the world’s landowners were women.