Betting on Women’s Leadership for A Better Tomorrow in a Post COVID World
By Randi Davis, UNDP Resident Representative for Trinidad and Tobago, Curacao, Aruba and Sint Maarten
Port-of-Spain, 8 March 2021 – This year, International Women’s Day will shine the spotlight on women’s leadership and the need for gender equality in a post COVID-19 world. Surely the pace of reform is too slow, and we know that the COVID Pandemic is threatening to push us back into the kitchen and even further away from the board room. Even before the pandemic, women’s leadership statistics around the world were at best “disappointing”. Despite being 25 years out from the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action, women still only account for 25 percent of the world’s parliamentarians and less than 7 percent of the world’s Heads of State. When it comes to access to economic decision-making and financial power – in other words the stuff that really counts - the sad reality is that women comprise a miniscule number of the top brass in the corporate world (only 7 percent of the Fortune 500 CEO’s are women). Their earning potential remains well below that of their male colleagues with a gender pay gap averaging 20 percent. Juxtapose this against women’s education: In nearly all regions, women make up a higher level of tertiary graduates, and despite this trend, continue to lag men when it comes to leadership in nearly all professions.
Now COVID-19 threatens to reverse years of progress for gender equality and women’s leadership. Women who carried a disproportionate share of unpaid care work in the home (estimated at three times as much as men) are now also having to manage household hygiene, homeschool their kids, while also sustaining their livelihoods. This, in a context where they account for more than 54 percent of overall job losses while accounting for only 39 percent of formal global employment.
Click here to read the full article published by UNDP on 8 March 2021.