March 8th is International Women’s Day. It is a global day when we celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. As there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to achieve gender equality, this day also focuses on the action that accelerates women’s equality. According to the Global Report of Equileap, only 6% of companies worldwide have a female CEO, 15% have a female CFO, and 8% have a female chair of the board.
Biases, prejudices, and stereotyping
There still is a noticeable presence of prejudices, biases, and stereotypes towards women. Women still experience microaggressions. Microaggressions – also called everyday racism – are actions, remarks and events that (often unconsciously) discriminate against people from marginalized groups. Comments like: “You can get the coffee as you’re the only woman in the room” or “Calm down, you must be on your period.” Besides these comments, women also get compliments like “You are quite good at this, for a woman”. These remarks are called benevolent sexism. Both these kinds of comments and remarks can damage women’s advancement, as it undermines gender equality in a more discrete and often unnoticed way.
Sexist assumptions and practices can hold women back and channel them into the wrong roles. Women may be shut out of senior positions or diverted into roles seen to require stereotypically ‘feminine’ skills. Men have been found to rapidly leave jobs dominated by women due to social stigma, with some preferring unemployment. Moreover, due to the biases mentioned above, women are in many cases still earning less than men.
Progress on gender equality
Sometimes it is difficult to see the positive next to all the aspects of gender equality that still need much work. But there are. There are improvements and positives. There are some great initiatives that really make a difference. For example, the initiative G20 empower. G20 Empower is an alliance for the empowerment and progression of women’s economic representation. Or organisations like Mama Cash. They support women, girls, trans, and intersex people who fight for their rights.
International Women’s Day: https://www.internationalwomensday.com/
Equileap Global Report 2023: https://equileap.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Equileap_Global_Report_2023.pdf
G20 Empower: https://www.linkedin.com/company/g20-empower/