The World Economic Forum's 2017 Global Gender Gap Report findings are stark.
It will take 217 years for disparities in the pay and employment opportunities of men and women to end. 217 years may seem like an impossible gap to reduce but with the recent increase in global activism for women's equality fuelled by movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp - there is a strong global momentum striving for gender parity. In light of this momentum, the campaign theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is #PressforProgress.
In 2018, there are more women in the boardroom than ever and greater equality in legislative rights. However women are still not paid equally to their male counterparts, women are still not present in equal numbers in business or politics, and globally women's education and health is poorer than that of men.
2017 was a particularly challenging year, with a shocking number of revelations of sexual harassment and assault from women in numerous sectors as well as the election of a US President who has himself been accused of assault. Donald Trump quickly reinstated the Mexico City Policy after his election, also known as the “Global Gag Rule, which prohibits allocation of U.S. funding to foreign NGOs that offer abortion services or information about abortion. In just one year, the policy has had disastrous effect; with clinics shutting down, and unsafe abortions predicted to rise sharply. In response to decisions such as this, brave women and men across the world led a movement for change. We witnessed a significant attitudinal shift in the way that society addresses women's equality and emancipation.
However, although there is momentum for change, we cannot be complacent. Now, more than ever, there is a strong call-to-action to press forward and progress gender parity. A call to continue to motivate and unite friends, colleagues and whole communities to think, act and be gender inclusive.
Together we must be tenacious in accelerating gender parity and call for Press for Progress.