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Today I want to discuss a topic that is close to my heart. Women empowerment!

I recently shared an article with a very good friend of mine titled ‘Why I don’t celebrate “First female CEOs” by Yves N’Gakoutou on LinkedIn. My friend read the article and her response was “That’s exactly the reason why I don’t celebrate women’s day!”

Where are we on economic gender parity?
What are your thoughts on commemorating International Women’s day which falls on the 8th of March, annually? This special day is set aside to celebrate economic, social, cultural and political milestones of women. Now, the 2018 Global Gender Gap Report found that the disparity in economic participation has been marginally reduced since 2017. Additionally, there has been a positive trend towards gender parity spurred on by the reformation of 274 laws and regulations in 131 economies according to a 2019 report by the Women, Business and the Law. Indeed, extensive strides have been made towards achieving equal access to economic opportunities. However, women continue to trail behind their male counterparts in accessing economic opportunities, especially in developing countries.

The importance of women’s economic participation
Women make up half the world’s population and therefore, their full economic participation is critical for global growth. In some developing countries, women are subject to economic laws that prohibit them from making economic decisions, such as participation in the workforce. Data from UN Women reveals that excluding women from the labour market results in GDP loss of about 15% in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. A recent PwC report further indicates that, enhancing female employment rates to equal Sweden’s, could boost GDP in the excess of USD 6 trillion within OECD. Similarly, increasing women’s participation in the workforce in developing countries can boost wealth creation considerably. In order to ameliorate global prosperity, it is vital to establish women’s equal access to economic opportunities, including control over and access to resources and a level playing field in current markets, consistent with UN Women ‘facts and figures on economic empowerment of women’.

Working as a global village to attain SDG 8
It will take a village to successfully achieve equal access to economic opportunities and fully realise women’s potential in economic markets. Using innovative approaches is part of the solution. For instance, financial institutions should consider adopting new technologies that support women’s access to finance in order to break the glass ceiling and reduce the gender divide. Further, data driven decision making by governments, policy makers and employers towards the inclusion of women in key positions in the labour market and encouraging more women to apply for top positions could be espoused. Finally, achieving SDG 8 which aims at ‘promoting full and productive employment and decent work for all, the empowerment of women in the economy and closing gender gaps in the world of work’ should be a high priority.

I would love to hear your thoughts! Send me your comments using the box below.

Look out for my next blog on working with ‘our sons as allies for our daughters’.