It has been predicted that it will take another 100 years to close the global gender gap.
This is according to the World Economic Forum (WEF), which has also placed the UK at 21st most gender equal nations in the world, compared to the 15th in 2018.
The global gender gap is measured across four key areas: health, education, work and politics. Presently the gap is at 31.4 per cent.
Nordic countries topped the table for the most gender equal nations. Iceland came first, followed by Norway, Finland and Sweden.
The 100 years prediction of closing the gender gap will only occur if countries strive to make progress. The WEF feel, if the current slow speed is maintained which was felt over the period 2006-2020, it will take 257 years to close the gap.
Klaus Schwab, the founder and executive chairman of the WEF said:
This year’s report highlights the growing urgency for action. Without the equal inclusion of half of the world’s talent, we will not be able to deliver on the promise of the fourth industrial revolution for all of society, grow our economies for greater shared prosperity or achieve the UN sustainable development goals.
At the present rate of change, it will take nearly a century to achieve parity, a timeline we simply cannot accept in today’s globalised world, especially among younger generations who hold increasingly progressive views of gender equality.
People reacted to the bad news relating to the UK’s drop in gender equality ranking.
Suki Sandhu OBE, founder & CEO of INvolve, said:
It’s incredibly disappointing to see the UK fall six places in the space of a year because of a lack of gender diversity and equality in British workplaces. However, despite our best efforts, there still aren’t enough women in senior roles. Unfortunately, there isn’t an overnight solution to this, and it requires robust processes in order to ensure any changes actually have an impact on organisations.
What we need to be seeing is a big focus on recruitment and retention of women in the workplace, ensuring that there is equality at the hiring process and that talent is being nurtured in the pipeline. While it may take several years before we see this pay off, in the long run, we should steadily see pay gaps decrease if organisations are taking it seriously.
Kelly Metcalf, head of diversity, inclusion and wellbeing at Fujitsu UK & Ireland said:
When it comes to gender equality, it is disappointing to see the news that the UK has slipped from 15th to 21st place. Whilst more women are working in the UK than ever before, this new ranking is partly down to a huge underrepresentation in nearly all fast-growing job sectors. As businesses continue to navigate through unchartered waters, tackling the gender gap and attracting diverse talent is becoming increasingly important.
Diverse teams allow organisations to provide collaborative environments where different ideas, perspectives and styles of thinking can all work together to innovate and deliver better business performance. A good starting point for business leaders is to begin an open conversation with the stakeholders, employees and even customers. Only by fully understanding the role that gender parity can play in driving business growth and success will businesses across the UK be consistently motivated to act differently and bring change.
Alexandra Anders, talent director EMEA, Cornerstone OnDemand said:
Changing the way you attract and hire a more diverse workforce is just the first step, when you start building a diverse workforce you’ve got to retain them. There’s work to be done with training managers who may have previously worked in a male dominated team. There are also employees who don’t want or don’t like change, and the best way to get them on board is to encourage an honest exchange to find out why – it may take some teasing out!
From a leader’s perspective, when you bring a diverse set of people together you must be clear how you want to be as a company. Yes, there will be local laws and cultural aspects that individuals in your organisation hold dear, but you must set the ‘laws’ as a company and what it means to be at your organisation. And for many organisations, this means moving away from behaviours that stifle diversity.