Gender equality represents not only a fundamental human right aiming to create equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities for people of all genders, but its purpose also goes beyond.
Since 2015 it has been included in The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and adopted by all United Nations Member States.
Here are three reasons why promoting women in leadership roles matters:
1. The business case
Whilst the Equality Act 2010 offers guidance on good practice, the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2022 highlights that the factors influencing the gap are complex, from economic to cultural, societal and educational.
Diversity and inclusion in the workplace have become an essential topic in recent years in the business environment. Research highlights that promoting women in leadership positions and a diverse workforce can help improve a company’s culture and brand, and create a more innovative and inclusive workplace, improving problem-solving, retention and many more benefits.
From an employee’s perspective, it impacts financial and professional wellbeing, which is strongly linked with increased motivation, productivity, and better financial outcomes. On a personal level, it improves life satisfaction and creates a sense of purpose and happier and healthier relationships.
Yet, the rate of women hired into leadership roles in 2022 sits at 36.9% and “on average, more women have been hired into leadership in industries where women were already highly represented”.
Evidence based on a 2011-2015 Graduate Institute study and an “in-depth analysis of 40 peace processes since the end of the Cold War” shows that including women’s expertise in mediation and negotiation of peace processes increases the chances of an agreement being reached. Furthermore, “not a single case where organised women’s groups had a negative impact on a peace process.”
“Women’s inclusion at the peace table shifts the dynamics towards the conclusion of talks and implementation of agreements and centralises a gendered and inclusive perspective on issues of governance, justice, security, and recovery aspects of a peace agreement.”
Simply put, women can wear many hats, possess unique transformational ideas and superior leadership values, and positively contribute to improving the quality of life.
We can link the idea of female leaders not only with peace as a general statement. We are making our voices heard and have a say in protecting fundamental rights such as the right to life and physical integrity, health care, education, or the ability to stay safe if you’re walking alone at night.
3. Economic growth
In 2013, The Peacebuilding Commission Declaration highlighted the significant contribution of women’s empowerment to economic activities, economic growth, and sustainable development.
Women who manage their income can secure themselves and their children and contribute to inclusive governance, "thereby making a vital contribution to family and community stability."
But we don’t need any research to tell us that.
Women are just as capable as men and can make an outstanding contribution to society in all its meanings.
They are leaders; even if they run a company, they take care of their household chores, children, or both.
In the everyday world, gender equality starts at home.
When responsibilities of the household and children are shared between partners, “people are less concerned with the impact of their job on family responsibilities and able to focus and commit more fully to their work” and more likely to take advantage of career opportunities.
Gender equity can improve not only the financial welfare of the family, hence the society, but also self-esteem and autonomy, and build healthier relationships.
Why are all these facts and figures important?
Whilst there is a long way to achieving gender parity on all levels, and we might not live to see it, we can still make a difference. Women empowerment is not just a “women’s issue”; it affects all of us. Collective actions need to be taken, from governments to businesses and individuals.
In a society where talent has no gender, these facts might not be significant because you have the skills and knowledge to do whatever you want wherever you are.
In a real-life situation, they could be just a reminder of your power and the changes you can bring to a world that needs true leaders.