This International Women’s Day, Let’s #PledgeForParity (Blog Post)March 8, 2016
Around the New Year, I wrote a blog post reflecting on my wish for 2016, which included parity across all sectors, especially for the sake of our children. So it’s only appropriate that today, International Women’s Day, the annual commemoration of women’s achievements, we embark on the global #PledgeForParity campaign encouraging all individuals to take concrete steps to accelerate progress for women in the world.
Our research shows that women remain missing from the economies of many regions across the globe—and countries are missing out on women’s talents. Increasing the proportion of women who are paid for their work to men’s levels could raise the gross domestic product by 5% in the United States, 9% in Brazil and Japan, 11% in Italy, 12% in the United Arab Emirates, and 27% in India. That’s huge—and it could mean a significant improvement in the quality of life in many countries.
You might wonder what you can do as an individual. Well, we’ve created a fantastic International Women’s Day resource page that makes it easy for you to learn more and find out how you can take steps to create equity. (Keep reading to find out more about what we have in store.)
Because while women have made incredible gains in the last 50 years—socially, economically, culturally, and politically—progress in the workplace has been minimal—especially at leadership levels. These barriers to inequity are more often the result of unconscious biases than overt sexism. Even those who believe in gender parity can have unconscious biases that can hold women back.
So, how do you prevent unconscious biases from affecting your decision-making? It’s about awareness and focused action, as well as acknowledging that you have unconscious biases in the first place. Not an easy task. Then it’s about a commitment to changing your behavior. Because EACH of us has the power to #PledgeForParity by being an inclusive leader.
Being an inclusive leader means making a conscious choice to embrace what is different, to see someone else’s struggles as your own, and to fundamentally believe that strength as a team or company lies not in your similarities, but in leveraging differences in others.
At Catalyst, we say the path to gender parity may be long, but it has to start somewhere. This is just one of the many reasons Catalyst is supporting several International Women’s Day campaigns this year, including EY’s #PledgeForParity Campaign adopted by International Women’s Day and Barclays partnership with UN Women’s HeForShe campaign.
Find out more about these and other campaigns on our International Women’s Day resource page, which provides a variety of information and tools so you can start taking action today. The page features:
- Links to learn more about IWD locally and globally.
- Webinars, infographics, online courses, research, and more to help you take action now.
- MARC (Men Advocating Real Change), Catalyst’s online community which helps men champion change for women.
- A quiz to test your International Women’s Day knowledge.
- And so much more!
Together we can make meaningful change for women in the workplace and the world!
Won’t you join me in making your own #PledgeForParity?
The views expressed herein are solely those of the guest blogger and do not necessarily reflect those of Catalyst. Catalyst does not endorse any political candidates. The post and the comments are presented only for the purpose of informing the public.
Former President & Chief Executive Officer
Growing up in a tiny village in rural Nova Scotia, far from any center of power, Deborah Gillis was inspired by a group of women who successfully advocated for gender equality rights to be included in the Canadian constitution. As a result, her high school debate topic was, “Be it…