We don’t live in a gender-balanced world – but we’ve already made huge progress

We’ve made huge leaps towards gender equality – and there’s more to come

Between the strikes, marches, press coverage and social campaigns, I hope it’s not news to you that March 8th is International Women’s Day.

And this year, we’ve got a truly inclusive campaign theme:

#BalanceforBetter

I don’t know about you, but this slogan speaks to me. It’s not directly focused on women, discrimination, injustice, or disparity.

It’s talking about balance. For all genders.

It’s a healthy and positive goal to work towards. And this kind of phrasing is a sign that there’s been real progress in the last few years – both in the gender equality movement, and in society as a whole.

In my own career, I’m lucky enough to have worked at Facebook, a company that prizes equality and diversity in gender representation.

But even a company like Facebook knows that it can always do more.

Last year, they published their fifth annual Diversity Report, where they were pleased to announce that over the last five years:

  • The number of women in technical roles has increased 7 times
  • They’ve nearly doubled the number of female graduates in software engineering
  • And the percentage of women in senior leadership has grown from 23% to 30%.

So this year, for International Women’s Day, I want to talk about progress.

I want to talk about how far we’ve come, and where we’re going next.

Let’s start with a few facts:

Everyone’s talking about the pay gap

And that didn’t used to be the case.

According to the Confederation of British Industry, 93% of businesses are now taking action to close the gender pay gap – compared to just 62% in 2017.

That’s all thanks to a revolutionary piece of UK legislation that last year forced companies to reveal their gender pay gaps.

It’s a move towards transparency and honesty in business.

It’s a sign that companies are now taking responsibility for the disparity. And once problems like these are out in the open, there’ll be no choice but to start to correct them.

More countries are giving equal legal rights

OK, so the total is only six countries.

But just a decade ago, the number of countries giving women and men fully equal rights was zero.

A recent study by the World Bank Group found that, over the last 10 years, there have been more than 250 gender-equality reforms to laws and regulations across 131 economies.

As you’d expect, some countries are more equality-friendly than others. But over the last ten years, the global average gender-equality score has risen by more than 7% – a significant improvement in such a relatively short time.

So to the six countries that give their men and women equal rights – Belgium, Denmark, France, Latvia, Luxembourg, and Sweden – we’re looking to you to continue leading the charge on creating a more balanced world for everyone.

The proportion of female CEOs has doubled in the last ten years

And so has the number of women in executive roles.

But while that sounds like an impressive statistic, we shouldn’t be celebrating too early.

According to The Guardian, the proportion of female chief executives is a meagre 7%.

There’s more to be done. And it’s not a case of filling quotas and gaming the system to meet targets.

We need a change in attitudes. A change in culture.

And that sort of thing has to start with each individual organisation.

So what’s next?

I’ve worked in a lot of different companies – from financial services to tech startups. And I’ve seen lots of different approaches to gender equality in the workplace.

But the one thing that ties every forward-thinking organisation together in their drive for a more balanced and inclusive community is this:

Giving each and every person a voice.

Giving them a channel to discuss, express, and bring to light the important issues that affect businesses every day.

Giving everyone (regardless of their gender) a means to truly take part in the company they work for – and opening up a sincere dialogue about the different opportunities available to them.

And that’s something that a platform like Workplace by Facebook is already creating.

If you want to see how your business can encourage an open, diverse, and healthy company culture, send me a message or reach out to us here at Coolr – we’ll be happy to introduce you to a new way of bringing your people together.

The world has come a long way towards #BalanceforBetter.

But there’s still so much more to do.

Are you with us?

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