The average gender pay gap globally is 23%. This means, women earn 77 cents for every dollar men make for work of equal value. For the first time, International Equal Pay Day was observed on September 18, 2020. This day was introduced to highlight the lack of gender equality in the workplace. Despite having the same skills for the same role, women are discriminated against on gender.
Goal 5 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) under Agenda 2030 is about Gender Equality. It aims at ending discrimination against women and girls, as well as empowering them. However, we are far, far away, from achieving this goal.
Moreover, given the wide global gender pay gap, reports suggest that it would take 257 years to close the gap.
Gender inequality might look like an issue faced by women lower on the economic ladder or coming from under-developed and developing economies.
However, the reality is that gender inequality is faced by all women irrespective of which economic strata they belong to. The gender wage gap also affects societies in first world countries like the US and Germany.
Despite years of activism, gender equality and inclusivity has yet to be achieved in the most developed of countries. Here is a short video that gets you thinking about the lack of gender equality, and how to improve the representation of women across sectors.
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So, how do we work together to plug this gap?
Gender Equality and International Equal Pay Day
At its 74th session on November 15, 2019, the UN General Assembly declared September 18 as International Equal Pay Day.
It is imperative that governmental organizations, private sectors, NGOs, and civil society organizations join together to create awareness on gender equality and work towards plugging the wage gap. The contribution of employees and workers should be recognized irrespective of their gender.
We will never achieve SDG 10 of Agenda 2030 – Reducing Inequalities – without achieving gender equality (SDG 5).
While we will make it through the pandemic, the after-effects will be lingering for a long time. The pandemic has hit not only human lives, economies, and employment in organized/unorganized sectors. In fact, COVID-19 has worsened existing inequalities hitting unorganized workers and vulnerable sections the most.
Gender Equality: How Does it Elude Women?
- Women are under-represented in decision-making roles. Moreover, it is mostly women found doing low-pay, low-skill jobs with greater job insecurity.
- Compared to men, women carry out almost three times more unpaid household and care work.
- Only 63 countries comply with the International Labour Organization’s minimum maternity leave standards. ILO stipulates that mothers should be granted at least 14 weeks of paid maternity leaves. Even the US doesn’t mandate the provision of paid maternity leave for female employees. India on the other hand has legal provisions for paid maternity leave of 26 weeks.
- Even where the maternity leave law is in place, only 28% of women enjoy paid maternity leave.
- Women comprise 63% of the informal economy which falls out of the purview of labour. In South Asia, 95% of the workforce in the informal sector are women.
The Myth About Neurosexism
The myth that women and men are wired differently has cost women dearly. The Gendered Brain by Gina Rippon, a neuroscientist herself, shatters the myth. Besides, she writes that no decisive, category-defining differences have been found between men’s and women’s brains.
Yes, the male brain is 10% larger than the female brain and has more grey matter. Women have thicker cortices than men. But, do these play a role in determining intelligence among the genders? A big NO!
It is time to move beyond the myth of neurosexism. And enable and encourage women in tech and science.
Even in the developed countries of the EU, women make for only 34% of graduates in science, tech, engineering, and math (STEM) and 17% ICT specialists, says data from Women in Digital Scoreboard and Atomico study.
Moreover, women in the ICT Sector earn 19% less than men, the statistics report.
How Can We Achieve Gender Equality?
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Inequality in the classroom leads to inequality in the workplace, and the consequent gender pay gap. Gender stereotyping of science, tech, engineering, and math subjects has a direct link to fewer girls graduating in the STEM fields.
A report by PWC on Women in Tech surveyed 2000 students in the UK and the results are alarming. 83% of boys in high school choose STEM subjects as compared to 64% of girls. Moreover, only 30% of the girls opted for a STEM subject at university, versus 52% of boys.
It is time for us to come together. Not just women standing up for women, but men standing up for women as well. All of us standing up for one another will effectively result in tomorrow’s Eutopia.
If you are a lady reading this, persevere! We will, together, work towards an equal world.
Do you know who else persevered? Maria Montessori.
She rose up against the naysayers and revolutionized the whole schooling system. A fellow expert educator wrote an entire book to critique her Montessori education system. Her system was on the verge of fading in 1920, but it resurged. And, spread far and wide across the globe.
This two-minute-long video explains how Maria Montessori changed the schooling system.
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