Every day is International Women's Day!
With just a few blinks, we spent nearly two years cutting through the pandemic; in several lockdowns, scares, horrifying tales of life and death, and yet, in March 2022, things are looking better and hopefully, it stays this way for all. During this time, we must not undermine the role of women - be it working mothers who had to juggle work and home, entrepreneurs who faced tough challenges to keep their business going, or homemakers who made a silent but significant contribution in many ways. Women have always shown grit and determination while performing different roles in personal and professional lives, and their resilience is simply amazing!
We may not have realised, but women employment fell globally by 4.2% in 2020 compared to 3% for men, as reported by International Labour Organisation (ILO). Besides, according to the estimates by World Economic Forum (WEF) before the pandemic hit, women already faced a 99-year wait before they are expected to enjoy full equality with men. However, the consequences of the pandemic have increased the gap by almost 40 years more, and now, it may take 136 years in total for women to enjoy full equality with men. So it is evident that we have lost four decades of work towards gender equality.
As we are celebrating International Women's Day, it is time we applaud the incredible work and achievement of women in social, economic, cultural, and political segments. Indeed it is a great feeling; however, in and beyond the boundaries of our developed cities, gender equality and women empowerment still need attention. Today is a day to think about the hundreds of thousands of women whose voices aren't heard, and are excluded from realising their full potential - a fundamental human right. But why just today, and not every day?
As per United Nations’ Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), no less than 53 of the 251 sustainable development goals (SDGs) indicators make direct reference to gender equality, women and girls. Yet, women have not been given a seat at COVID-19 recovery decision-making tables. In the 225 working groups created by various countries globally to design and implement COVID-19's life-saving programmes for which data are available, it is noted that women make up less than a quarter of members and are not represented at all in 12% of the working groups.
Hence, while we celebrate this women’s day, let us acknowledge the prevalent gender inequality and together take a step to create equal opportunities for all genders and further empower women beyond the homes, offices, and boardrooms.
Meanwhile, A Very Happy Women's Day to all the Women! Every Day!
The views & opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent those of QS-ERA India Private Limited and/or its employees, partners, shareholders, or other stakeholders.
Dr Ashwin Fernandes
Regional Director – Middle East, Africa & South Asia
CEO, QS I-GAUGE