Gender Equality

Our Partner, Catriona Threadgold, wrote an interesting piece on this very important topic in the Waterford News. Have a read below.

In its 2022 Sustainable Development Goals Report, the United Nations documented a discouraging picture of gender equality progress around the world. The piece, which details the reversal of years of progress in eradicating poverty and hunger, improving health and education, providing basic services and more, shows that the world is not on track to achieve gender equality by 2030.

It’s a horrifying but understandable result following two years of a global pandemic; one which imposed a disproportionate toll on working women; in 2020, women lost $800 billion in income and 64 million jobs, according to Oxfam. While many of those jobs have since come back, the implications of such dive far deeper than just financial strain. Women’s progress in achieving parity in societal issues, health and reproductive services, access to education, political representation and other human rights has too waned since the pandemic began, the most glaring of which can be seen at the highest levels of government and business. As of last year, just 24 heads of state are women, and only 4.8% of the Fortune 500 have a female CEO.

Closing the economic gender gap requires action at national and international levels, as well as corporate. A 2019 World Economic Forum study found that it would take approximately 257 years to close, with COVID-19 pushing that number further. Some issues can be remedied more quickly than others. For instance, women are often underrepresented in senior roles and overrepresented in low-paying jobs, so increasing the minimum wage is a priority. Too, a need for transparency; if women don’t know they aren’t being paid fairly, how can they do anything about it? Childcare and maternity pay also need to be a priority to create equal opportunities, given that mothers are more likely to take time off work to care for a child.

      What is most important to remember is that this has, and never will be, simply a woman’s issue. ‘Sexism isn’t a women’s issue any more than racism is a Black issue,’ Venus Williams wrote in a 2021 open letter, published in US Vogue. ‘Men need to understand gender equality is about equal opportunities for women rather than men relinquishing power.’ At Fitzgerald Power, 70% of our workforce is female, as is 50% of the leadership team. We hire on the basis of talent and have never been in a better position. Our scope is wider than ever before, and our understanding greater.

      When women are doing well, the family does well and so does the economy—we all win.