- Gender parity could take nearly 100 years to achieve, warns the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Gender Gap Report 2020. WEF said the report benchmarks the progress towards gender parity of 53 countries based on four criteria: economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival and political empowerment.
- While gender parity is nearly fully achieved in education and healthcare, the setbacks for women are largely economic, whereby they’re underrepresented in higher-paying jobs, such as those in tech fields; concentrated in jobs that are at risk for automation; and lack sufficient access to capital.
- To address these deficiencies, strategies are needed in the workplace to make sure women obtain the skills they need and that diverse hiring is heightened, WEF said.
Gender parity is projected to take so long due to, among other things, employers' slow performance in closing the gap; not one organization received an "A" grade in an S&P 100 Index for gender equality by Equileap. General Motors scored the highest with a 71% rating, a B+. The average score was 45%, or a C-. Grades like these indicate that employer strategies may be subpar or, in some cases, ineffective.
As WEF noted, women are concentrated in jobs that are marked for automation, a dilemma that a McKinsey Global Institute report also acknowledged. According to the report, between 40 million and 160 million women globally will need to transition into jobs requiring higher-level skills or continue to face low wages and missed opportunities for career advancement.
But the solution to the parity gap is unlikely to be training or mentorship programs alone, according to research published by the Harvard Business Review in October. Researchers said that although training and mentoring were specifically aimed at helping women advance, women remain largely underrepresented in leadership roles. One researcher described the problem like this: "I found that executives tended to focus on teaching women to fit the existing mold in order to advance in senior leadership, instead of on how they might change the mold." In other words, individuals are expected to change when often, a cultural shift may be exactly what is needed.