International Women’s Day: “Count Her In, Invest in Women. Accelerate Progress.”

Diverse and empowered women ready for businessIn a research capacity, I am encountering some rather demoralizing statistics regarding gender inequality, pay disparities and a gendered future, among other topics. But when it starts to feel like some of these issues are just too daunting, I find myself thinking of the next generations and, as a mother myself, what I want for them — a world where all our daughters and sons are on equal ground. This thought always leads me to redoubling my efforts as a researcher.

An area I am particularly drawn toward, probably due to my own past personal circumstances, is women’s economic empowerment. According to the UN, women’s economic empowerment means ensuring women can equally participate in and benefit from decent work and social protection; access markets and have control over resources, their own time, lives and bodies; and increased voice, agency and meaningful participation in economic decision-making at all levels from the household to international institutions. Without this equality, I often worry that women will be forced to make decisions that will adversely impact their lives — something I most definitely do not want for my own children!

Unfortunately, we are quite far from this end goal. Women face inferior income opportunities compared with men. Women are less likely to work for income or actively seek work. The World Bank cites that the global labor force participation rate for women is just over 50% compared to 80% for men. Women are less likely to work in formal employment and have fewer opportunities for business expansion or career progression. When women do work, they earn less. Emerging evidence from recent household survey data suggests that these gender gaps are heightened due to the pandemic. In 2022, the job gap rate for women was 15% compared with 10.5% for men, meaning an additional 153 million women have unmet employment needs compared with 115 million men.

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Women’s economic empowerment has many advantages. It increases economic diversification, income equality and, of course, shared prosperity. According to Bloomberg, closing the gender gap could give the global economy a US$7 trillion boost!

SIA President Ursula Williams shares my passion for empowering women in the world of work. “The challenges of gender bias, impostor syndrome, work-life balance and negotiating for oneself are well-known issues for women in leadership,” she tells me. “As we shed light on these challenges and collaborate with women to address and overcome them, let’s also actively engage and support women in the workforce to ensure fair and balanced opportunities for all.”

As an industry, we are individually and cumulatively in a perfect position to help highlight, champion and elevate economic gender equality in the workplace. So, let’s align our goals with those of the UN currently: “Count Her In, Invest in Women. Accelerate Progress.”

Francesca Profeta

Francesca Profeta
Francesca Profeta, CCWP, is a research analyst at Staffing Industry Analysts She can be reached at fprofeta (at) staffingindustry (dot) com

Francesca Profeta

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