International Women’s Day (March 8 each year) marks some meaningful progress in the struggle for gender equality. Despite some setbacks, citizens around the world continue to see the value in, and reap the benefits from, equal gender representation in government and business.
- India’s main opposition Congress party gave 40% percent of its tickets (approval to run as a candidate) to females for the ongoing 2022 assembly elections in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, the country’s most populous with more than 200 million residents.
- The US elected its first female vice president and achieved a number of other records for females in government leadership positions:
- 26 women serve in the US Senate
- 6% of 435 US House congressional seats held by women
- 9 states led by female governors
- As of March 2021, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany and Lithuania have female prime ministers. Estonia and Greece have female presidents. Other countries that recently elected their first female leaders include Moldova, Togo, Gabon, Austria and Slovakia.
- The national governments of Finland, Austria, Sweden, France and Belgium are at least 50% female.
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Unfortunately, not all the news was good. As of February 2021, women serve as elected heads of state or government in just 21 of 193 recognized countries. And the percentage of women serving in the European Parliament dropped slightly compared to 2019.
Looking beyond politics, the World Economic Forum (WEF) concluded in its 2021 Global Gender Gap report that the global gender parity gap is currently 68% closed. That’s a drop of 0.5% from 2020. The WEF evaluates gender equality in 156 countries across four key areas – economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival and political empowerment. At the current rate it will take 133.4 years to achieve global gender parity.
Why does equality matter? Because gender balance provides more equitable outcomes. Major institutions such as WEF, the World Social Forum, the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, and McKinsey & Company, a major global management consulting firm, have all concluded that gender equality leads to more prosperous societies and better performing businesses.
As a technology company, Smartmatic employs many women in STEM. Currently, 36.5% of our managers (associate to senior manager positions) are women. That’s higher than the industry average, but we have programs in place to continue our push toward gender balance at all levels.
On this International Women’s Day, lets commit to more prosperous societies and better performing businesses. Let’s commit to shortening the number of years needed to achieve global gender parity.