Last week, I read an op-ed in the New York Times promoting a gender-neutral Oscar – author Kim Elsesser noted there is no need for segregating awards between men and women and that women should be treated as full equals. Though I agree with the latter statement, we live in a world of gender inequality. Look at the provocative cover of the Economist this week: “Gendercide:What happened to 100 million baby girls?” It goes over what has been in the news before – China’s one-baby per family policy encourages families to use ultrasounds to determine a baby’s sex and abort females, now there is a disproportionate male-female ratio in the country. Same for places in India and South Korea. The lead anecdote from rural China about a midwife throwing a girl baby in a slop-pile to die broke my heart.
So for me International Women’s Day is important. It is ironic that International Women’s Day is actually a national holiday in China. That’s based on the day’s roots in a socialist solidarity movement for women. The long history of promoting women’s rights needs to continue around the world.
In a world where women hold up half the sky, and make up 40% of the worforce, so much more needs to be done to achieve equality. Catalyst, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting women in business, recently published, Pipeline’s Broken Promise, which looked at thousands of women and men MBA alumni in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia, and determined that even after taking into account experience, industry, and region, women start at lower levels than men, make on average $4,600 less in their initial jobs, and continue to be outpaced by men in rank and salary growth. Men are twice as likely as women to hold CEO or senior executive positions and less likely to be at lower levels, where women are overrepresented.
I know I need to do more so that my daughter has a better future. To International Women’s Day!