It seems particularly timely to be celebrating women who are breaking barriers and tackling gender disparity. Not only are we marking International Women’s Day today but it feels as though there has been a tectonic shift in the gender equality landscape of late. Female activism has gained global attention through the #MeToo and #TimesUp campaigns, controversies surrounding gender pay gap reporting have received broad coverage and, in the UK, we are marking 100 years since women won the right to vote.
There is a palpable sense of momentum behind the gender equality movement at present, with the media attention surrounding it helping to inspire further activism- particularly via social media. A much-needed spotlight has been placed on the gender equality issue but we still have a long way to go in order to achieve a balance. In fact, the 2017 World Economic Gender Gap Report, which benchmarks 144 countries regarding their progress on gender parity, found that the gender gap is actually widening and, at the current rate of progress it will take 217 years for equality to be achieved across the world.
It’s a sobering thought and one that, according to International Women’s Day organisers, means we cannot afford to be complacent. In a bid to ensure that pressure for change is stepped up, International Women’s Day is urging people this year to #PressforProgress, sending out a ‘strong call to motivate and unite friends, colleagues and whole communities to think, act and be gender inclusive.’
At Bruntwood, we are committed to promoting gender inclusiveness across our organisation and in the workplace communities that we help to create. On a personal level, as a senior female professional working within the property sector and involved in helping to shape the future of our cities, I am fortunate enough to have a platform that can help me to champion female achievement.
I am honoured, for instance to be participating in The Northern Ballet’s ‘Women in The Lead’ event, where I’ll be given the opportunity, alongside my peers, to explore issues that affect professional women, regardless of industry, and celebrate the dynamic women who make the city of Leeds great.
Certainly, we need to see many more ‘women in the lead’ in our boardrooms. According to the World Economic Forum, during the last decade the proportion of female leaders increased by an average of just over 2 per cent across the 12 industries it studied.
Bruntwood passionately believes in equality and diversity of opportunity and we look to develop our colleagues’ skills and capabilities creating a pipeline of future leaders, regardless of their gender. There is lots of evidence that points to a correlation between diversity and success and it’s something our business is keenly aware of.
So we need to Press for Progress, not just on International Women’s Day but every day if we are to see gender equality ambitions realised. By celebrating female achievement together and continuing to place a spotlight on it, we can help to bring about change more quickly – in our own organisations and beyond.