This Saturday is International Women’s Day, a day when conferences and meetings will occur around the world celebrating what’s already been accomplished in gender equality worldwide. It will also be calling for more awareness and opportunities for women across the globe.
I have five sisters who are confident and accomplished in life, so I agree completely with Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Women’s Executive Director, on the statement she made at the 6th Annual Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) Event, Gender Equality and the Global Jobs Challenge, featuring attendees from UN Women and UN Global Compact,
“By promoting women’s equality, we make progress for all…When we empower women and girls through education and training, and support their full participation and leadership through equal opportunity, we advance equitable and inclusive economic growth and reduce poverty. It’s a win-win situation.”
In the U.S., female workers are still paid only 77¢ for every dollar their male colleagues make. A union in Sweden recently made a woman into a man on an advertisement to emphasize that point. You can watch it here!
Also, only a mere 4.2 percent of chief executive officers at Fortune 500 companies are women! However, those women do get a lot of coverage in the media. A perfect example is Sheryl Sandberg, CEO of Facebook. She is making global waves in Silicon Valley!
Only 32 billionaire women or 1.9% of all the globe’s billionaires–had a meaningful hand in building their own fortunes. This of course is opposed to women inheriting one from a parent or through marriage.
The work for gender equality is progressing, but it is still far from over. In face, one study showed that the majority of men also feel that the “country has made most of the changes needed to give women equal rights as men,” but just 29 percent of women felt the same. That’s not all, nearly 30 percent of women report experiencing discrimination in the workplace. That is not ok!
As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.” So ladies, don’t let us pigs get you down. Go out there and do you!
I encourage you to take the time and think about what International Women’s Day means to you personally and just in general. I challenge women and girls to learn from the example of the females already in leadership roles and have had the courage to persevere and to overcome mediocrity. We need you just as much as men to get this economy back in action, so give yourself an opportunity to do something great. Take a chance and be extraordinary!