Since the beginning of the human race, women have been pigeonholed and considered less than men, especially when it comes to work and wages. This article is written in celebration of what women have accomplished throughout the years, as well as a “call to action” to all mankind to accelerate gender equality so that our daughters and our daughter’s daughters only know about gender imbalance as a time in history that no longer exists. Whether you are a man or a woman, this call to action is for all of us collectively and collaboratively be the change we need in this world to make our planet a better place for all future generations. The change begins with us, today, here and now once and for all.
- We are all human.
- We all breathe oxygen to live and sustain life on earth.
- We all have a passion and a purpose on this planet.
- We are all here for a reason, a season, and a lifetime.
Everyone has a part to play when it comes to creating gender balance. Gloria Steinem, world-renowned feminist, journalist and activist once explained: “The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.” Today, we don’t hear the terminology “feminist” as much as before, instead we are hearing specific calls to action we all have a part in owning.
On September 8th, 1995, Hillary Clinton declared in a speech as First Lady to the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing 24 years ago “Human Rights are Women’s Rights and Women’s Rights are Human Rights, once and for all.” Sadly, we are still fighting for these rights 24 years later. This slow progress is unacceptable and must be changed.
Women comprise 47% of the total U.S. labor force yet only 23% of the Fortune 1000 C-Suite is comprised of female executives. Of the CEOs who led the companies that made up the 2018 Fortune 500 list, just 24 are women. What is worse, that number is down 25% from last year’s record-breaking 32 female CEOs, the highest share of women since the Fortune’s first 500 list in 1955.
Another interesting statistic is that more than 39% of women work in occupations where women make up at least 3/4ths of the workforce. Also, if we look at specific job categories women are predominant in those are the one’s that the majority of men are not interested in doing. For example, a January 2019 study by Insightory Consulting shows that 80% of Chief Human Resource Officers are women and research shows the gender skew in this role is very likely because those studying and aspiring to move into CHRO positions are predominantly still female. Nursing is another occupation that is predominantly female. As you can surmise quickly gender equality is far from being balanced.
To make matters more disheartening, according to many studies, I will use the Institute for Women’s Policy Research in 2015, show female full-time workers made only $.79 cents for every dollar earned by men for the same jobs. And one last statistic to share an IFC-McKinsey study noted that women face a credit gap of approximately $320 billion – and only about 10% of women entrepreneurs globally have access to the capital they need to expand their businesses.
How Can We Together Accelerate Gender Balance?
Here are a few ways to begin your quest to create #BalanceforBetter and make the world a better place for our daughters and future generations to come. I want to encourage everyone to think “Bigger” and not only think but “do” whatever it takes that is within your power to be a “change agent” to create #BalanceforBetter and make the world better.
A few tips to encourage and engage #GenderBalance:
First, begin with the end in mind as the late Stephen Covey used to say. By knowing what #GenderBalance looks like and putting a date on it we can effectively build each of our own strategies and plans to do our part. Now, it’s important to understand that change begins with you becoming deeply self-aware and genuinely aware of others (this requires strong emotional intelligence). Changes must begin within each of us and from within each of us a ripple effect begins to flow outward into society through our thoughts, actions and our voices!
Creating a #BalanceforBetter and making the world better must begin with the one universal strength we all have within us, love. Gender balance begins with Love. Loving self and then loving others.
Next understanding that gender balance grows with Empathy “genuinely caring and understanding what other’s feel.” Followed by showing Compassion. Gender balance becomes sustainable with Compassion. Caring what other’s feel and then doing something to help them. This is your “Call to Action”.
Mahatma Gandhi said it so meaningfully; “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
Maurice Schweitzer, a Wharton professor of operations, information and decisions shares one-way to create gender balance in the workplace is through “Gender-Blindness”. He shared:
“We should absolutely strive for gender-blindness, and we should encourage the adoption of strategies to promote gender-blind decisions (e.g., evaluating resumes without names, auditioning orchestral musicians behind a curtain, etc.). This could involve the steps of asking ourselves how we would evaluate a behavior or decision if that person were of a different gender. By promoting gender-blindness, we will produce a workplace that is more fair and a workforce that is better.”
So, let’s start there and put our arms and hands up high together! The future is exciting! We are building a Gender-Balanced Better World!
Ignite Your Emotional Intelligence & Transformation! “My Passion is Helping Other’s Find Theirs!”
Jane Ryan, MS, Ph.D. Psychology, ABD
Emotional Intelligence, Leadership Transformation,
Futurist Executive Coach and Career/Life Coach
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In hard times, the soft stuff often goes away. But emotional intelligence, it turns out, isn’t soft. If emotional obliviousness jeopardizes your ability to perform, fend off aggressors, or be compassionate in a crisis, no amount of attention to the bottom line will protect your career. Emotional intelligence isn’t a luxury you can dispense with in tough times. It’s a basic tool that, deployed with finesse, is the key to professional success.