Worldwide, over 60% of the gender gap has been closed.1 We’re in the middle of the journey towards gender equality, but we still have a long way to go. According to the World Economic Forum, it will take at least another 135 years to close the gap for women.
Waiting more than 100 years for the solution is unacceptable.
Is it possible to speed up the process of closing the gap? As Peter Drucker put it: “What gets measured gets managed”. ESG reporting can therefore be the start to effectively reaching the greater levels of gender equality. These reportings contain government-mandated reporting and disclosure of human and social standards. Management science provides strong evidence that greater levels of gender equality raise company and economic performance.2 Thus, this could help to accelerate the process toward gender equality
What is considered to be gender equality?
The fifth goal of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is related to gender equality.3 Gender equality means that people of all genders have equal rights, conditions, opportunities, and the power to shape their own lifes and contribute to the development of society. Everyone, including you, is affected by gender inequality – women, men, trans, and gender-diverse people.
The main SDG to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls is divided into targets:
- End discrimination against women and girls
- Eliminate violence, including trafficking and (sexual) exploitation against women and girls
- Eliminate all harmful practices such as child, early and forced marriage
- Recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work
- Ensure women’s opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic, and public life
- Access to sexual and reproductive health and rights
- Implement policies to provide women with equal rights to economic resources
- Increasing the use and accessibility of innovative technology
- Adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality
The issue of unequal payment – pay gap
On average, for each dollar earned by men, women only make 77 cents.4 And yes, even in modern countries like the Netherlands this difference exists. There, women still earn on average 14% less per hour in comparison to men.5 This difference is also known as the pay gap.
This inequality in payment can be partly explained. Women are more often employed in sectors with low or average wages, for example, health care or education. The male-dominated sectors on the other hand, such as finance and technology, are the highest-paid sectors. In addition, men are also (still) more likely than women to hold leadership positions, for which hourly wages are also higher.
The two factors above can explain about two-thirds of the wage gap. However, the remaining one-third cannot be explained by this. Different studies suggest that this part of the pay gap is related to unequal pay: men getting paid more than women for the same work and the same hours. An explanation is not a justification. The fact that part of the pay gap can be explained does not mean that nothing must be done about it.
One step to help narrow the pay gap could be to increase pay transparency. It is difficult to determine whether or not you’re being compensated fairly if you don’t know how much your colleagues are making.
Benefits to have equal opportunities for all genders in top jobs
Women are strongly underrepresented in decision-making positions: of the 94 CEOs in the Netherlands, 5 are women.6 Women have much less influence than men. And the numbers do not lie, in the Netherlands, there are more CEOs named Peter than female CEOs.
Meanwhile, having women on board in decision-making positions has many advantages.
- It ensures more balanced decisions7 due to multiple perspectives
- Leaders with feminine qualities such as empathy, collaboration, and risk avoidance are important for effective leadership8
- Results in financial benefits9: companies with more gender diversity in leadership positions make more profit than companies with less gender diversity.
1Global Gender Gap Report 2021 | World Economic Forum
2Gender Diverisity in the Boardroom and Firm Financial Performance
3SDGs Goal 5
4Equal pay for work of equal value | UN Women – Headquarters
6Mijn naam is peter – BrandedU
7Vrouwen aan de top
8Intermediar | Pleidooi voor meer feminien leiderschap
9McKinsey: Bedrijven met diversiteit in de top maken meer winst
Blog article written by: Benthe Schuurman
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