As we’re approaching International Women’s Day and the 25th anniversary of the Beijing World Conference on Women, it’s time to reassess strategies to achieve to empower women.
It’s been 25 years and no country – rich or poor – has achieved gender equality.
The 1995 conference was a historical moment for women; a key outtake of which was the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action – the most progressive agenda on women’s’ empowerment to date – which was adopted by 189 countries.
Where are we now?
At the time of the first UN-recognised Women’s Day in 1975, there were no female CEOs of Fortune 500 companies; today there are 25. However, according to World Atlas, 45 countries don’t have any laws against domestic violence – a major backslide for women’s empowerment.
A new Gender Social Norms Index released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in March 2020 reveals that even though we’ve made significant strides in gender equality, a startling 90% of men and women still hold some sort of bias against women.
According to the index, which uses data from 75 countries, covering 80% of the world’s population, about half of the world’s men and women feel that men make better political leaders, and over 40 percent feel that men make better business executive; they also believe that men have more right to a job when jobs are scarce. A quarter of men and women believe it is acceptable for a man to beat his wife.
The report shows that in many countries, unconscious bias has worsened over recent years, and enormous power gaps still exist between men and women in our economies, political systems and corporations.
What steps has CTG taken to accelerate progress of gender equality?
This year the theme for International Women’s Day is #EachForEqual, drawing attention to the difference individuals can make. The core message of the campaign is the idea that gender inequality isn’t just a women’s issue, but an economic one too – as gender equality is essential for economies and communities to thrive.
In 2017, CTG launched the Female First initiative to encourage our recruiters, in-country teams and clients to balance the gender scales by creating job opportunities for women in humanitarian and development roles in conflict-affected countries. Challenges are amplified for women in fragile and conflict-affected states, who simultaneously face insecurity, instability, diminished access to education, weaker institutional capacity and infrastructure, and less private sector investment than in other countries.
We’re aware that we need to change mindsets by unlocking unconscious bias and challenging constitutions if we want to see real progress. Since the launch of Female First, we went from 8.9% of our project-related roles being represented by women, to 18.2%.
Our goal is to have 30% female representation by 2030. Many in remote and challenging locations or in roles typically held by men, such as explosive ordnance, demining or risk education experts, Engineers or Fleet Workshop Supervisors.
This month, CTG is celebrating women who are constantly challenging the status quo by working in typically male-dominated roles in high-risk areas. Follow us on social media to hear their stories or check out our day in the life of campaign.