Gender equality: How to speed up the glacial pace of progress
Advances are plain to see for women in all sectors, but calls come from all corners for Europe to lead the way on gender parity and accelerate change as gaping inequalities persist.
From a very young age and throughout our lives our education, our experiences shape our future. But can you really get to be what you have hoped to be? Suffragette movements in the 19th and 20th centuries across America, the UK and Russia were the beginnings of women's fight for equality. But the struggle has been a hard one. Girls and women all over the world suffer sexual harassment. They are raped, they are trafficked, they are tortured, they are denied access to education and they are not told that they can have both a successful family and professional life.
Throughout the years, much has changed. We see more and more women in higher education, we see more and more women in top jobs. But in the workplace, are men and women really equal? Let's find out. Good morning. -Hello. So here you are going to wrap the chocolate, you are going to put the chocolate in the envelope as I am doing, making sure it goes right in. -OK.
The World Economic Forum's global gender-gap index tracks gender disparity. It looks at four key areas: health, education, the economy and politics.
When it comes to health and education, there is almost parity, but it's a different story when we look at the economy and politics. I mean just look at the 2015 Forbes list of the most powerful people on the planet, only nine of them are women.
On average, women can earn up to 16% less than men and once in the workplace they can face far more social discrimination. But looking around this shop floor it would seem that men and women are pretty equal. Well, how about if we try a different type of job? Morning Mariam, good to meet you. I'm Mark Cunningham, a partner here. Figures show that women account for 1.7 billion of a global labour workforce and make up 75% of all skilled employees. But when it comes to leadership roles, that figure doesn't actually translate. Only 28% of women occupy the top spots in companies.
Women also have an added pressure, pregnancy. Legislation to fight inequality is out there. The principle of equal pay was enshrined in the 1957 EU Treaty. Despite that, progress on gender inequality has bumped along at a glacial speed. Analysts say the gap between men and women can't be closed until 2133. The European Commission has unveiled an equality roadmap for the future but have yet to publish any concrete solutions. The European Parliament is pushing for legislative change. At the start of the mandate we saw the withdrawal of the Maternity Leave Directive, which was the first step backwards, and we are seeing the postponement of the Women on Boards Directive.
What we need from the Commission is much more ambition, a clearer voice and confidence in the fact that the EU is responsible for gender equality. If women stand together, there is hope for a better future. The struggle is not over. Discrimination based on gender can be wiped out. Who's listening?
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