It is great to be a woman, especially in the 21st Century!
Today, women are scaling into leadership positions through sheer determination and passion for what they are equipped to do and love doing best. But, as women celebrate International Women’s Day 2017 (IWD), the grass seems a bit greener on the other side of the fence. Gender pay gaps and advancement of women in the workforce are seemingly overlooked in work related spaces. Below are some observations in recently conducted studies.
Accenture, Digital Fluency by 2030
Globally, for every $258 a man makes, a woman makes just $100, this is according to Accenture’s findings.
Pierre Naterme, Chairman & CEO, Accenture opines “Gender equality is an essential element of an inclusive workplace, and this extends to pay.’ He highlights business, government and academia all have a role to play in the quest to closing the pay gap. Mr Naterme suggests collaboration amongst these three bodies is the key to change. In the same vein, Julie Sweet CEO, Accenture, North America stresses the gender pay gap can be closed much quicker if everyone creates significant opportunities for women and everyone takes action. Owing to their take on this great divide, Accenture has identified 3 critical areas that need to be addressed by way of a call for action and highlight tangible benefits.
- Ignition of Digital Fluency: could lead to a reduction in the pay gap by 21%, and add $1.9TN to women’s income and see nearly 100M women in paid work.
- Transformation of Career Strategy: could reduce pay gap by 9% and add $1.5 TN to women’s income by 2030.
- Acceleration of Tech Immersion: could reduce the pay gap by 5% and add $0.5TN to women’s income.
In essence, the combined impact of these 3 equalizers could close the pay gap by 35% and add $3.9TN to women’s income by 2030. Impressive!
EY Women. Fast Forward
EY identifies gender parity is an absolute economic imperative. This means 170 years (as predicted) is simply too long to wait to attain gender parity in the workplace!
One of its programmes titled ‘EY Women. Fast forward’ proffers a solution, “To accelerate achievement of gender parity we need purposeful action by both men and women to recruit, retain and advance women in equal proportion … commensurate with the limitless potential they offer the workplace”. This inclusive call to action indicates there is a channel available that can champion “opportunities for future generations of women, forging a lasting legacy of growth, [and] increased prosperity” globally. It is clear EY is of the opinion that the creation of platforms that can address issues such as metrics or what women look out for in leadership roles, compared with men, will certainly go a long way to creating “inclusive stronger communities” that is if they are considered effectively and acted upon by different workplaces.
Julie Hood, Deputy Vice Chair, EY recognises the biggest obstacle can be ‘fear’ of the unknown or simply daring to be different but encourages women to overcome this ‘fear’ and make a bold change happen. According to Ms Hood, people should not feel constrained but rather take steps to follow their dreams. Let’s keep moving!
McKinsey & Company
The good news is that “Africa has more women in [the] executive committee, CEO and board roles in companies than the average worldwide”. But, guess what? “only 5% make it to the very top”. – McKinsey & Company.
McKinsey & Company recently carried out a series of research on women in leadership roles. In a report titled ‘Women Matter Africa,’ they seek to shed more light, backed up with data on gender diversity in different workplaces. Our focus will be on women in leadership roles in Africa. But it is important to note that McKinsey & Company suggest “numbers do not equal influence” as many women in leadership positions do not really have great power accorded to them. Despite this, the research highlights the fact that companies with women in top leadership roles tend to perform financially better than other companies with a lesser gender balance.
Here are some of their findings as they relate to women in Africa only:
- 5% are CEOs
- 22% are cabinet members
- 25% are parliamentarians
- 29% are senior managers
- 36% of promotions go to women
- 44% of women hold line roles
In the midst of celebrating some achievements albeit slow, women need to be mindful that Africa as a continent still has a long way to go in terms of gender parity. African countries need to address the alarming gender imbalance to attain gender diversity by 2030. Quickly.
Some lessons learnt from 35 African women interviewees conducted by McKinsey & Company include the following:
- Develop a robust work ethic and go over and beyond what is expected
- Set specific goals, be willing to take risks and be persistent
- Don’t take setbacks personally, dissent when necessary and be resilient
- Embark on continuous professional development
- Mentor others and be mentored. Networks can be internal or external
In sum, as women reflect on International Women’s Day 2017, it is imperative that we all take steps to begin to close the gender divide. Gender diversity is a key function for the robust development of communities, companies, organisations, educational institutions and the government of any nation worldwide. Rather than develop in isolation, the time has come to collaborate and identify channels of opportunities that will enable women to assume leadership roles and perform. Simply put, attitudes to women in the workplace need to change and cooperation from men and women will go a long way towards accelerating and achieving gender diversity much quicker than the predicted 170 years!
To women, in the words of Julie Hood…explore the life you might be able to create without fear.
- Accenture: Getting to Equal 2017. https://www.accenture.com/us-en/gender-equality-research-2017. Accessed 6, March 2017
- EY: Woman. Fast Forward: http://www.ey.com/gl/en/issues/business-environment/women-fast-forward. Accessed 6, March 2017
- McKinsey & Company: Women Matter Africa. http://www.mckinsey.com/global-themes/women-matter/women-matter-africa. Accessed 6, March 2017