Fixing the System, Not the Women is the Key to Achieving Equality

There is a myth that an equal world only benefits women and takes away the power of men, but the fact is that an equal world benefits everyone, regardless of their gender and isn’t that utopian world most of us are striving towards? World Economic Forum reveals that “When equality grows, communities are healthier, businesses are stronger, economies rise – and the world is a better place for everyone.” However, just take a look at a majority of the gender equality drives across the world and you’ll find a pattern; they want women to step out, fight, change, challenge and demand what is rightfully theirs, but what about the rest, what about the men, what about the entire system? Do women need fixing or does the system need to change?

People in powerful positions are still reinforcing traditional gender norms

The most recent World Economic Forum Gender Gap Report revealed it will now take 257 years for the gender gap in the economic participation to be bridged as compared to 202 years in 2019. To many, this might come as no surprise given the scheme of things in developing countries and in many developed countries too, like Japan, for example. One word, “bias” which is cropping up, again and again, is something that is a result of myth about women and people still continue to believe them in spite of education and awareness. “Women lack ambition, lack confidence, must carry more of the load at home, are opting out of big roles and that there aren’t enough women in the pipeline to increase representation in the C-suite,” reports WEF. Moreover, people in powerful positions at work like CEOs and managers still reinforce many outdated beliefs about gender and women. Hence, it makes the average person think that there is something wrong with women and the gender wage gap still exists because of women. Hence, there is a big need for a shift in the mindset and the fixing of blind spots in the system, only then can diversity and inclusion policies work.

“Our talent plans must encompass our total talent pool – not just a piece of it”

‘Let’s take workplace policies, as one example. Many companies have taken steps to improve maternity leave. And yet, the workplace gender gap continues to grow. Why? Because maternity leave is a career inflection point that uniquely affects women.’ Today, as more men are becoming involved fathers, particularly in the area of caregiving, it is vital that maternity leave is changed to parental leave where both fathers and mothers can take leave for the birth of their children. Hence, there needs to be targeted planning at all areas of work and this will not only address the gender gap in participation in the workforce, but also the gender income gap. ‘We must tackle the numerator and the denominator by declaring hiring targets and representation quotas for women and for men. Our talent plans must encompass our total talent pool – not just a piece of it,’ adds WEF. Hence, it is time for the system to be fixed and not women, because if women themselves are not included, how can other genders imagine a more equal world. 

Image credit: Time Magazine

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