We often are pushed into thinking that the advancement of women in the workforce, in elected roles, and in leadership positions in general is an issue focused on by women-only media –ghetto-ized some would say by mainstream media. But for a change, The Economist (magazine/online), the guidebook for financial watchers and journalists the world over published in the UK, has issued a special report on the advancement of women worldwide. The subhead on an article titled: Closing the Gap is “Women have made huge progress in the workplace, but still get lower pay and far fewer top jobs than men.”
The statement is not a surprise but The Economist has invested a bit of time and energy into carving up the statistics of women’s space in this global economy from management positions to board seats and up the ranks to CEO. The report relies on various research including that from Catalyst. It shows that at the management-level men and women are fairly equal and then the gap gets ever wider, even though more women are educated every year in every discipline. Working Mother research on US Best Companies supports some of this data.
According to The Economist: “This special report will explore the reasons why progress in the rich world seems to have stalled and what can be done about it. It will start by explaining what sort of work women do, and why that matters.”
In the article: A World of Bluestockings, The Economist states: “Of the world’s 774m illiterate adults two-thirds are women.” That’s a sizeable number more than I thought would play out when the entire world was measured. We know in the US there are more women graduating from colleges and graduate schools than men. It’s noted that the lack of good child care plays a huge role in keeping women out of the workforce.
In one article, Baby Blues, the author tries to look through the lens of working parents and found it easy to pit the US against it’s European counterparts similar to my blog post: This is How They Do It in Sweden and Denmark, written after a recent trip to those countries where I was interviewed on the topic, and in the Working Mother article Everyone but U.S.: The State of Maternity Leave. Those countries are far ahead of The States in paid parental leave and child care. The Economist notes in the report that the lack of good child care plays a huge role in keeping women out of the workforce.
This disaster of care is the reason Working Mother has launched a call for Paid Parental Leave. (Sign our petition here). In the blog: Maternity Leave Moments we invite women to share their stories of how they did it.
While The Economist does not look fully through the lens of the working mother, the articles are certainly worth a read as they look carefully at the global issues Working Mother has found in countries we have worked in like India and China as well as here in America.
Another article looks more broadly at representation by women in elected positions. Women do lead other countries like Germany, Finland and Australia, but the numbers are not high in elected representation in general.
Will it change anytime soon? When will women have parity? Like all things, we cannot change what we don’t understand and we cannot change what we do not try to change. If we are too pessimistic to believe it can be done in our lifetime, no matter how old you are, think this instead: “Do it for your daughters,” or nieces or friend’s daughters. At any rate, do it for the next generation of women so they can succeed, and let the men in your life/work know they need to do it for theirs, too.