- 05 Mar 2020
An equal world is an enabled world. Learn more about the current state of gender equality and how to show your support this International Women's Day
The first International Women's Day gathering was in 1911 and was supported by over a million people.
Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere.
An equal world is an enabled world
This year’s IWD campaign looks for us all to recognise that we are responsible for our own thoughts and actions.
That we have the power to actively choose to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women's achievements.
We can all play a part in creating a gender-equal world #eachforequal - all day, every day.
The Global Gender Gap Report is an amazing resource that monitors gender equality year-on-year on a global scale, highlighting the importance of initiatives like IWD.
Such data helps us understand our biggest challenges, our greatest accomplishments, the knock-on effect inequality has on future generations and the best way to navigate forward.
Education is everything.
Here are 4 interesting facts from the 2020 Global Gender Gap Report.
4 facts from the Global Gender Gap Report 2020
1. We won’t see gender parity in our lifetime
In fact, we probably won’t see gender parity in our children’s lifetime either. Findings from the Global Gender Gap Report revealed that it will be practically another 100 years (99.5 years to be precise) before we achieve gender parity.
2. Iceland ranks top for gender equality
For the 11th year running Iceland has ranked top for gender parity. With 48% female representation in the Icelandic parliament, important legislation towards equality like equal pay are prioritised. The most-improved countries were Albania, Ethiopia, Mali, Mexico and Spain. Australia ranked 44th of 153 countries.
3. Political empowerment scores are poor
Across the four subindexes (economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival and political empowerment), the largest gender disparity is the Political Empowerment gap. Globally, the parliamentary representation of women is just 25%.
4. 10% of girls aged 15–24 in the world are illiterate
A high concentration of illiteracy occurs in what the report describes as developing countries, where educational attainment across the board is low. However, even in countries where access to education is high, women’s skills are not always in line with those required to succeed professionally. This has a knock-on effect on female economic participation and opportunity.
Why is monitoring gender equality important?
The effects of inequality are intricate, far-reaching and in many cases devastating.
The UN states that women’s education is a crucial factor in cutting child mortality rates.
For each extra year of primary schooling, girls earn 10-20% more when they start working. When women have paid work, they invest as much as 90% of their earnings into their families compared to men who reinvest 35%.
So when women earn more income, the health, education and quality of life of their children will improve.
Equality is better for everyone, and the more we learn, the more we can educate to achieve this goal.
Reporting the facts creates clear pathways to accelerate equality, something IWD looks to help achieve.
Here are 3 simple ways you can show your support for an equal world this IWD.
3 ways to support IWD 2020
1. Raise awareness against gender bias
The bad news, unconscious gender bias is real, the good news - by knowing this you can stop it.
Neuroscientists have revealed regions of the brain involved in gender and racial stereotyping.
They have shown that stereotypes begin to form early in childhood and that our brain responds more strongly to negative information.
It's thought our brains cluster people into groups with certain behaviours to prevent information overload, but this means the potential for prejudice is real and often unconscious.
This early adoption of prejudice helps explain the gender and racial bias we see everywhere from education and healthcare to the criminal justice system.
However, if people understand unconscious bias, they have the ability to control and prevent it.
Awareness is the first step, so share your knowledge to correct unconscious bias.
2. Take action for equality
Taking action for equality is overwhelming, but there are everyday things you can do to spark change in your own life and for the people around you.
Start by promoting gender justice in your own home by sharing equal responsibility for things like household chores.
Vote for qualified women who are underrepresented in your community.
Reject chauvinist attitudes.
Be fair in the workplace. Hire diversely, provide or seek equal wages and provide education on gender bias if needed.
3. Support women in business
Starting a business is hard for anyone, however, women face additional barriers to starting a business.
Research in the UK found that only 9% of funding for start-up companies goes to women-run business.
Such inequality means only 38% of women can go straight into a business from full-time work compared to 63% of men, with most women having to work part-time while getting a business off the ground.
Despite financial barriers, the challenges of childcare and sexism, many women around the world are still sharing their talents and expertise as business owners.
Supporting women-led business is a great way to support IWD and strive for big change towards equality.