August is Women’s Month, and next Wednesday night COPPERSTONE will celebrate our 12th annual Women’s Day event in style at Indaba Hotel in Fourways, Johannesburg.
We need to apply the lessons from history during the 1956 marches to complete the liberation of our society from the persistent social ills from the legacy of that unjust system. Structural violence that perpetuates poverty, inequality and unemployment lies behind our very high gender-based violence and deeply entrenched patriarchal system.
The best gift our society can offer to women during this year’s Women’s Month would be to invest in promoting healthier relationships between men and women. The public sector needs to look inwards and create healthier working spaces within the public service to model gender equality and respectful relationships that build trust and enhance productivity.
The private sector remains male dominated. Inequalities breed mistrust and undermine productivity. We also know from the IMF and other studies that gender inequality has a huge opportunity cost for GDP growth. Raising female participation in the labour force could boost GDP growth by 27% in certain regions: ranging from 5% in USA to 35% in Egypt. Estimates for our region of sub-Saharan Africa is 12%.
This the current state of gender equality worldwide:
- In 2016, just 57% of the world’s working-age women were in the labour force
- Women with full-time jobs still earn only about 77 %of their male counterparts’ earnings.
- 62 million girls are denied an educationall over the world.
- Every year, an estimated 15 million girls under 18 are married worldwide, with little or no say in the matter.
- 4 out of 5 victims of human trafficking are girls.
- Women around the world aged 15-44 are more at risk from rape and domestic violence than from cancer, car accidents, war and malaria.
- Around the world, only 32% of all national parliamentarians are female.
- Women currently hold 24, or 8% of CEO positions at S&P 500 companies.
- If there’s only one woman in your candidate pool, there’s statistically no chance she’ll get the job
- Only 1% of women owns property worldwide.
Gender equality can only bring positive change. Especially from a cultural, political and socio-economic point of view.
Gender equality offers the freedom to be our true selves. It is not a battle between the sexes, it is a battle for choice. The choice to be whoever and do whatever you wish without the burden of gender assumptions and stereotypes.
This Women’s Month be vocal about gender parity and take a stance for equality.
The Time is Now!