Why is gender equality important?

As a women, research business leader, I feel that it’s important to mark International Women’s Day now, more than ever.

A recent Ipsos Mori study, found that almost 1 in every 2 Britons (47%) felt that women’s equality had gone far enough, more depressing still the proportion has increased from the 38% who said the same last year.

Factors that contribute to this are likely to include, a misunderstanding of equality, backlash against diversity initiatives, economic concerns, identity threat and media influence.

Creating a more equal society has many benefits.  For business owners, more equal representation of women leads to a wider talent pool, different perspectives, greater customer representation, enhanced collaboration, improved staff retention, improved recruitment and reputation and most markedly, evidence is clear that the most gender diverse companies are 25% more likely to experience above-average profitability.

Gender imbalance in parliament and in other elected bodies around the UK means that women’s voices are significantly under-represented in the key issues of the day, e.g. healthcare, women’s safety, the pay gap and childcare.   While women make up 51% of the UK-population, just 35% of MPs are women.

Greater gender equality benefits everyone, research shows that governments with gender equality deliver healthier, safer and more prosperous nations. Democracy is enhanced by a more representative and diverse government.

The gender pay gap is recognised, typically women working full-time earn 7.7% less than a man in the UK, but that pay gap expands in some sectors (e.g. finance and insurance) and if we take into account part-time work, the gap expands further with women earning on average 14.3% less than men.

However, of more concern is the repressive and authoritarian global trend towards controlling women’s rights to autonomy over their own bodies, we all thought ‘A Handmaids Tale’ was a work of fiction!

Yes, we’ve come a long way.  But as evidence in the UK and around the world shows, the good fight continues.

Happy International Woman’s Day to all of my fellow equality fighters, men and women.

Posted by: Lisa Holt, 8th March 2024

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