Gender Equity Is Possible in Our Lifetime. Here’s How
Sponsored In the last year, the time to gender equality in North America has increased by 10 years. Those 10 extra years mean we are now a total of 168 years away from achieving gender equality — we are moving backwards in our progress towards equity.
This backwards movement is happening at a time when the United States faces a workforce shortage of 5 million workers by 2020, with there being more job openings than unemployed workers to fill them. We are at a tipping point and moving fast toward a human capital crisis.
A staggering reality
Our country is also witnessing a rising tide of women’s voices. From Ellen Pao to Susan Fowler, from #MeToo to #TimesUp, we’re ready to create forward change, but change is not happening.
In recent weeks we’ve seen bad news on gender equality. Consider the number of female CEOs in the Fortune 500. Now, only 24 of Fortune 500 CEOs are women. Or look at the Supreme Court, which dealt workers a crushing blow with news of the arbitration ruling. We’re also seeing women leave the workplace, a trend that is slated to continue until 2026.
What’s happening? Gender inequity, and it’s crushing our economy. Yet in the midst of this realization is a bright spot: we could increase our GDP in the United States by $2 trillion if we closed the gender equity gap.
The smart way forward
Here’s another bright spot. We are in the midst of the fourth industrial revolution. We are making huge leaps in advanced technology, and that advanced technology can be used for good.
This understanding led me to ask, “What if we could use advanced technology to close the gender equity gap and improve the economic pie for all?”
With the partnership of my co-founder, Stefan Ramsbott, I did just that — proving that for every 10 percent increase in gender equity, there is a 1-2 percent increase in revenue — and operationalizing that model through our cloud platform engineered with AI. Not only can we tell companies their time to gender parity, we can get them to parity. Using advanced technologies, gender equity is possible in our lifetime rather than the current projected 168 years.
Awareness is not enough
With the chorus of women’s and men’s voices rising, we must take our surprise and anger and turn it into forward motion. We must shift from awareness to action. While it’s remarkable that 3,800 companies have committed to gender equity through public pledges and have put gender equity in their top 10 priorities, that is not enough. Despite these commitments, employees do not see gender equity data regularly shared with them.
One of gender equity’s most talked about factors is the pay gap, a factor that sits on top of a three-legged stool. The first leg of the stool is unequal pay for equal work. The second leg is the fact that women hold 67 percent of student loan debt. The final leg is what’s known as the pink tax, or paying more for similar products. It’s no wonder, then, that 56 percent of children living in poverty are living in households headed by women or that women are more than twice as likely to live in poverty in retirement.
The time to commit to using advanced technologies such as AI to bend the arc of history is now — to wring out bias, and ensure everyone has opportunity. We must look forward if we are to recognize the unparalleled economic opportunity that will come from closing the gender gap once and for all.
Using advanced technologies, gender equity is possible in our lifetime. Let’s use the tools we have to realize the $2 trillion sitting in front of us and rewrite the future for millions of citizens suffering from gender inequity.
To find out more about Pipeline and turn awareness into action, visit www.pipelineequity.com.