Michelle Obama once said: ““No country can every truly flourish if it stifles the potential of its women and deprives itself of the contribution of half its citizens.”
When societies become more equal, countries and economies become more resilient. Besides being the right thing to do, gender equality makes economic sense. Why is it that although multiple studies have proven the advantages of gender equality, time and time again, it takes so much time and effort to change?
Let’s have a look at some shocking facts. According to the World Bank’s Women, Business and the Law 2022 report (https://www.worldbank.org/en/research):
➡️ Approximately 2.4 billion women of working age don’t have equal economic opportunity
➡️ 178 countries maintain legal barriers that prevent women’s full economic participation
➡️ 95 countries do not guarantee equal pay for equal work
➡️ Women face some form of job restriction in 86 countries
A lot has been written about the disproportionate impact from the global pandemic on women’s lives and livelihood. Women continue to face major challenges that will potentially lead to widening the gender gap and therefore increasing inequalities.
We are at risk of reversing the progress that has been made to bring women into the workforce. What can be done to avoid this from happening, whilst helping us to move towards a more resilient and inclusive world?
Governments have a responsibility here and should be at the forefront by adopting laws that strengthen women’s (economic) rights and opportunities. According to the World Bank report, 23 governments reformed their laws in 2021 and introduced legal reforms to ensure women’s empowerment, thereby taking much-needed steps towards advancing women’s economic inclusion.
2030 is approaching fast and the time is definitely now to act! Together we can and should work towards a more gender-equal world. What is your contribution?