January 5, 2018
No country has completely bridged the gender gap. According to the 2017 Global Gender Gap Report, the average progress on closing the gender gap stands at 68.0. At this pace, it may take 100 years to close the universal gender gap, and 217 years to bridge the economic gender gap.
The economic gender gap specifically measures female participation in the workforce, the presence of women in leadership positions, equal pay for having done the same work, and the existing amount of female technical and professional workers in the labor market.
It isn’t enough that women participate in more economic activities these days. Women should hold strategic positions within companies. Leadership positions are mostly occupied by men and the data is overwhelming: women in OECD countries barely hold 10% of administrative council positions. Only 3% of women hold executive positions in the 100 biggest companies in Latin America.
Women across the globe still face a substantial gender wage gap. For example, for every dollar men receive in the US, women get 79 cents. Most women receive such low pay due to their chosen fields of education: girls are still under-represented in areas such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Even though more women are entering the professional world, most of their jobs remain in education, humanities and social sectors, that are less valued in the market. Women are also more likely to reject high responsibility positions, or to even leave their jobs due to the burden of non-remunerated housework and childcare.
Narrowing the economic gender gap requires us to put an end to barriers that stop women from achieving leadership positions or from getting equal pay. Women’s economic empowerment means greater agency, opportunities, and control over resources. This contributes to gender equality, social development, poverty eradication and inclusive economic growth. In addition, it is a potential solution for other problems women face; gender violence is an example.
217 years seems like a lot of time to me. It doesn’t work for me, it doesn’t work for my daughters. Moreover, it doesn’t even work for my granddaughters. We have to do something to go faster. The good news is that it is in our hands to accelerate this process. We have the power to transform reality. Closing completely the gender economic gap depends on the actions we take today.
Angélica Fuentes, Founder Equal Invest
Angelica is a well-respected Latin American business woman and philanthropist, who has been recognized by Forbes Magazine as one of Mexico’s most influential women. Ms.Fuentes was appointed CEO of Grupo Imperial in 1992 and quickly positioned the company as a top player in Northern Mexico’s energy sector. Under her leadership, Grupo Imperial’s annual growth rate increased from 5% in 1992 to 9.5% in 2005.
Prior to joining Grupo Imperial, Ms.Fuentes served as CEO of Grupo Omnilife-Angelissima-Chivas from 2007 to 2015. Under her leadership, the company became one of the top 100 corporations in Mexico. Previously, Ms.Fuentes served as President of the Business Energy Network of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Agreement (APEC) from 2002 to 2004, and as President of the Mexican Natural Gas Association from 1996 to 2000.
Throughout her career, Ms.Fuentes has dedicated significant time and resources to NGOs, international organizations and professional groups that champion women. Her work in this field has been recognized by numerous honors and awards including in 2015, when Ms.Fuentes became the first female CEO to receive the Women’s Empowerment Principles CEO Leadership Award for championing gender equality in the private sector.
Ms.Fuentes established the Angélica Fuentes Foundation in 2014, the philanthropic culmination of her lifelong commitment to improving the lives of women across the globe.