Why International Women’s day matters to me…
It’s not because I am some fierce, angsty feminist
It’s because in my first lecture at University I was told 18/100 males in the room will go on to be CEO’s of their own company. Within 5 minutes of being a Business Management student I already felt put down, already felt the need to raise my hand and ask what the statistic is for women. Or why the lecturer chose to specifically outline that 18 out of 100 males would become entrepreneurs and CEO’s despite over half the lecture theatre being female.
My Dad is a CEO, an extremely good one at that, he makes me very proud to be his daughter and see the hard working example, of where dedication and commitment can get you….and never once has he made feel as if I can’t do the same. In fact he has actively always pushed me to believe I can, always made me think bigger and aim higher.
So why don’t we?
Women currently hold 4% of CEO positions (http://www.catalyst.org/knowledge/women-ceos-sp-500)
The independent today said that “In the private sector, fewer than 4 per cent of CEOs leading the worlds 500 major corporations are women.” Furthermore Women make up just 55 of the 500 richest people in the world, according to Forbes’ list of billionaires. In addition according to the UN, in the everyday workplace women earn 70%-90% of their male equivalents salaries. With data from the WEF’s global gender report showing that whilst almost a quarter of a billion more women are in the workplace than a decade ago they are still earning the same amount as men in 2006.
The word feminism often feels akin to a grenade in todays society, you drop it into conversation and watch as it blows up in front of you, arguments and debates exploding left right and centre. Leading females across professional industry’s are campaigning for the word to not have such negative connotations, for people to be proud to identify as feminist and not be labeled a man hater for doing so. This post isn’t about feminism, yet I felt it couldn’t go unmentioned, I won’t pretend to know enough about the subject, to have read enough books, to have researched it enough to join that conversation. Because this is an issue of feminism, why there is such a drastic split within the workplace of women in leadership, and why in 2016 we are still fighting a gender pay gap.
I wanted to add my own voice to the overriding conversation that is going on globally today. A conversation of equality and injustice but not one of blame.
“The gender parity goal is a big ask when you consider the still-present wage gap, underrepresentation of women in political power positions, and their overrepresentation in poverty, domestic violence and sexual assault figures. International Women’s Day helps create a dialogue and a shine a light on the issues faced by women all around the world.”
Those 96% of CEO’s I am sure deserve to be where they are today, my own Dad as I have mentioned included in that percentage. But that doesn’t mean women don’t deserve to also.
My question today is why aren’t there more women in these positions? When I look around my lecture hall at least half if not more are women. So what then is the problem? Are there less opportunities for women? Are we less ambitious? Are our male course mates simply better than us? Or is their an ingrained assumption that Men should be in the highest positions of power within business? I can say that is not for a lack of academic achievement or deficiency of ambition, however aside from that I honestly don’t know the answer, I think in truth it is probably a combination of things.
It matters to me because on my first day of University, my first hour as a Business Management student I was made to feel inferior to my male course mates. Made to feel as if all the hours put in at the library, all the essays submitted are preparing me to only assist the entrepreneurs of the world and CEO’s, not be one by myself. But I can, and girls everywhere should be raised knowing they can.