I apologize for being late with my round-up and for being away and involved with family affairs during International Women’s Day!
A collection of extracts on what’s being said about gender equality in our world.
International Women’s Day: still a long way towards gender equality
Euronews, March 7, 2018
The Commission is marking International Women’s Day with the publication of a new report on equality between men and women, which shows the major achievements and progress made last year in EU legislation, actions and funding possibilities.
In spite of the policy efforts and commitment to push further the gender equality agenda, an abundance of data and statistics show that only marginal progress has been made in the past years.
Vĕra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, added: “Gender equality is not just about women. It is about our society, our economy and our demography. We want to guarantee that women are truly equal to men in front of the law. We will also continue work to empower women, so they can make their own choices when it comes to their careers and their families.”
The report shows that women still face challenges in different areas:
- While European women are better educated than men (44 % women aged 30-34 vs 34 % men got university degree in 2016), they remain largely under-represented in decision-making positions in companies and still earn 16 % less than men on average across the EU.
- Women are also under-represented in politics. In six countries (Greece, Croatia, Cyprus, Latvia, Hungary, and Malta) women represent less than 20 % of parliament members.
- The gender gap in employment has stagnated for the last few years at around 11 percentage points. There has been no noteworthy catch-up between low and high performing Member States.
- 44 % of Europeans in average think that women should take care of their homes and families. In one third of EU Member States, it is no less than 70 % of Europeans who think so.
- Violence is still too wide-spread: One in three women in Europe has experienced either physical and/or sexual violence since the age of 15. Also 55 % of women in the EU has experienced sexual harassment.
For more information
The 2018 report and Women’s Day
- 2018 Annual Report on Gender Equality
- Press release on the report
- Joint statement on the occasion of International Women’s Day
- Questions & Answers: What is the EU doing for women’s rights and gender equality?
Gender Equality and combatting violence
- The Annual Fundamental Rights Colloquium on Women’s Rights in Turbulent Times addressed violence and harassment against women as well as the economic and political inequality between women and men, particularly focusing on the gender pay gap and on work-life balance
- The launch of Spotlight Initiative by the European Commission together with the United Nations addresses gender-based violence at global level.
- 2017 Gender Equality index
- Violence against women awareness-raising video
- No.non.nein campaign against violence against women
Women in Digital
- Study ‘Women in the Digital Age’
- Initiative to increase women’s participation in the digital sector
- European Institute for Gender Equality press release on the women in tech
Status of Women Canada supports certification system for gender equality
The Canadian Press, Mar. 8, 2018
OTTAWA — The Liberal government is devoting nearly $860,000 to a project that could end up creating a certification system to let Canadians know how well companies are doing when it comes to gender equality.
The three-year project led by the UN’s Global Compact Network Canada will involve working with the private sector to develop a plan to get rid of the barriers women face in the workplace, including better policies on sexual harassment and balancing a job with caring for a family.
Helle Bank Jorgensen, president of the network, says one of the goals is to find a way for companies to measure themselves against a set of gender-equality standards and be recognized for their efforts.
She likened the idea to how some buildings can now be certified for their environmentally friendly design.
Status of Women Minister Maryam Monsef says that in Canada, women hold only one-fifth of the positions on corporate boards.
The funding, announced on International Women’s Day, is also meant to help corporations improve those statistics, as well as increase the number of women represented throughout the organization.
Women march in London to call for gender equality
Guardian, March 7, 2018
Thousands of people joined a march in central London calling for gender equality and to celebrate the 100th anniversary of women getting the vote.
The event, organised by the charity Care, was the sixth annual #March4Women, which is held each year on or near International Women’s Day on 8 March.
Organisers promised an “uplifting and inspiring” march, which aimed to shine a spotlight on the inequality women and girls face worldwide.
Politicians from different parties, as well as groups representing all religions stood shoulder to shoulder as they marched on the same historic route taken by the suffragettes last century.
Banners reading “Let’s finish what the suffragettes started” and “Close the pay gap” were held aloft during the rally in Trafalgar Square, which followed the march. Speeches were made by the London mayor, Sadiq Khan, and activists Bianca Jagger, Helen Pankhurst, Shola Mos-Shogbamimu and Faeeza Vaid, with a video address by the singer Annie Lennox.
Sandi Toksvig, the broadcaster and co-founder of the Women’s Equality party, also appeared. Ahead of the march she said: “We’ve been marching for 100 years. Now’s the time to put our foot down.”
The March4Women march in central London to celebrate International Women’s Day
The March4Women march in central London to celebrate International Women’s Day. Photograph: Ray Tang/Rex/Shutterstock
Leading the march was Pankhurst, the great-granddaughter of suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, who said “right across the board in every sphere there’s work to be done” to ensure gender equality.
She said there was a “great energy” and that “day after day after day there’s a media story saying we are not going to tolerate this any more”.
Khan donned a “deeds not words” sash and said he was a “proud feminist”. He said there were too few women in parliament and boardrooms across the country, adding that a 50% gender balance should be a floor to aim towards, not a ceiling.
“I think if you’re in a position of power and influence and you think it’s wrong that women get paid less than men, you think it’s wrong there’s discrimination against women still, you think it’s wrong that simply by virtue of being born a boy you have more chances than a girl – you should be a feminist.”
He added: “And I can’t understand why anybody wouldn’t want to be a proud feminist.”
The Labour MP Dawn Butler was met with a loud cheer when she said she was marching for women whose stories had been ignored or overlooked.
She said: “I’m marching for the hidden history. I’m marching for the women nobody knows about. I’m marching for the women nobody speaks about. I’m marching for the women who suffer in silence. I’m marching to say we hear you.”
Hundreds march for gender equality in Tunis
The New Arab, March 11, 2018
Hundreds of women protested in Tunis on Saturday to demand equal inheritance rights as men, which is not the norm across the Arab region.
The demonstrators – mostly women but also some men – carried signs reading “in a civil state I take exactly what you take,” a nod to scrapping Islamic inheritance laws that typically give men double the amount.
Compared to other Arab countries, Tunisia grants women more rights.
In August, Tunisia’s President Beji Caid Essbsi established a committee to advance women’s rights.
Last year, Muslim women were permitted to marry non-Muslim men for the first time in Tunisia. Legislators also passed a comprehensive violence against women law that included measures such as criminalising sexual haraassment.
However, men and women are not entitled to equal inheritance in Tunisia, an issue that protesters demanded on Saturday be changed.
“It is true that Tunisian women have more rights compared to other Arab women but we want to be compared with European women,” Kaouther Boulila, an activist, told Reuters.
“We just want our rights.”
The majority-Muslim North African country is typically praised as the only “success” story of the 2011 Arab uprisings, which saw strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali removed from power in 2011.
But terrorism has plagued Tunisia and economic growth has been sluggish since the revolution.
Gender equality in Europe is improving, but slowly | View
The biggest challenge for women today is that they do the biggest burden of unpaid work, such as caring for children, caring for the elderly, and household work, says Virginija Langbakk of the European Institute for Gender Equality.
Euronews, March 8, 2018
On International Women’s Day, Euronews speaks to Virginija Langbakk, Director of the European Institute for Gender Equality, about closing the gender gap for women in Europe.
What are the top issues that need tackling to bring about gender equality in Europe?
The biggest challenge for women today is that they do the biggest burden of unpaid work, such as caring for children, caring for the elderly, and household work. When we look at the index developed by the European Institute for Gender Equality, the situation has actually deteriorated over the last ten years. In some regions, women are doing almost everything at home. And you cannot regulate it; you cannot simply say “a man should do so many hours of work.” So that is really extremely alarming, because it’s not improving.
The consequences of this can be seen in the constellations of modern families. We analysed single parents, and found that 80% of single parents are mothers. In employment, there is an 11% gap between the participation of single fathers in the labour market and that of single mothers, meaning that women tend to take part-time employment, or they wait because of all this care and unpaid work. If you look at families with three children or more, there the gender gap is 28%. So the more children you have, the less chances you have to earn your own salary, to be independent, to do what you want. It’s very much the modern shift to how the families are formed.
The other thing that is very alarming is violence against women. In modern society, we should be changing, we should be thinking about respect and dignity, but it’s still happening so much and we are ashamed to talk about it.
What about women in the workplace? Are pay gaps a concern?
We are seeing that a pay gap, and also a pension gap, are the consequences of inequalities in both education and later in the labour market. The pension gap is very large, at an average of 40%.
We analysed and compared two sectors: first, care and health, which is dominated by women, and then the ICT sector, where there are plenty of employment opportunities and a demand for skilled workers. Women are not encouraged, in fact they are discouraged, from entering the ICT sector. Starting at school, they are told there is no role for them in the sector. We are seeing these big differences because of what we call a segregation of women, or condensation of women, in low-paid jobs like social care, education, and teaching, compared to men, who go into more lucrative roles in information technology and engineering. Because of that, we see that the pay gap is extremely large and there aren’t any strong measures to equalise it.
What America Can Learn From Iceland About Gender Equality
Melissa Jun Rowley, Forbes Magazone, Mar 8, 2018
The other day I came across a T-shirt with the words “vikings do it better” printed across it. If the “it” being referred to is gender equality, whoever made the T-shirt is spot-on. For the last nine years, the Nordic Nation has reigned number one on the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index, which ranks 144 countries based on how close they are to achieving gender equality.
According to the Global Gender Gap Report 2017, Iceland has now closed more than 87% of its overall gender gap. On January 1, 2018, legislation came into effect requiring companies and government agencies employing at least 25 people to obtain certification of equal-pay policies.
As for the United States, our ranking is 45th place. However, that’s not for lack of trying to rise to the occasion. According to CEB, now Gartner, more than 70 percent of organizations have started taking action to address pay equity, but fewer than one-third of them believe they have been successful.
Monique McCloud-Manley, practice leader for CEB’s Total Rewards Leadership Council, says companies can no longer afford to wait to address gender equality and diversity, because by 2027 almost 60% of the US labor force will be women and minorities. She says one of the best ways to get to the root of the pay gap problem is to distill the issue down to two different types of gaps.
“One type of pay gap is a group-to-group gap, which is caused by environmental factors,” says McCloud-Manley. “They’re discrepancies in pay that result from factors, such as the occupation someone chose and the industry they decided to work in. Look at female nurses versus male doctors. It’s not so much that women choose nursing because they’re not capable of becoming doctors, but because nursing provides a lot more flexibility in scheduling. Women with the responsibilities of motherhood, for example, may choose to go into nursing careers. You can go back and look at factors such as the classes they were geared toward as early as elementary school or middle school. So environmental causes are things that happen, and they’re long-term barriers that result in earning gaps.”
The Role-To-Role Gap
A role-to-role pay gap results from something that is a personal characteristic, such as gender, race, ethnicity or age—something that’s not within the control of the person. These attributes are related to practices such as hiring and the biases that come with talent management.
“When you’re able to separate out what’s a group-to-group pay gap from a role-to-role pay gap, that’s when the executives that we work with feel like they actually have some control, and can try to close the 7.4% disparity we see across most organizations,” shares McCloud-Manley.
Spotify’s new ‘Amplify’ hub to highlight issues like gender equality, immigration, and LGBTQ rights
Sarah Perez, TechCrunch Magazine, Mar 8, 2018
Spotify announced this morning the launch of a new in-app destination called Amplify, initially available in the U.S. and Canada, that will feature voices from various communities that focus on key topics like gender equality, mental health and self-care, LGBTQ rights and immigration, among other things. News of the new hub was delivered on Thursday, to coincide with International’s Women’s Day 2018, but Amplify will be a year-round feature within the music streaming app, the company says.
Amplify is kicking things off with a celebration of women’s voices for March, Women’s History Month in the U.S.
The Amplify Women selection offered starting today will feature a range of podcasts and playlists that represent various women’s views, and will offer a dedicated “Amplify: Women of the World” playlist that’s updated on a weekly basis. The playlist during the month of March will include artists like as Raisa x Isyana from Indonesia, Saara Aalto from Finland, and Fatouma Diawara from Mali, and more.
As of this morning, the hub includes a variety of other playlists by genre, as well, like Women of Hip Hop, of Indie, of Folk, of Rock, etc. It also offers a small of influential women of music, seemingly trending towards what people are streaming now, rather than some larger editorial selection of all-time greats. The list includes names like Taylor Swift, Sia, Selena Gomez, Adele, Jennifer Lopez, Fifth Harmony, and others.