Men Still Rule the World

Gender inequality may not be immediately obvious. The developed world is centuries ahead of less developed countries where women are still denied basic rights. Women in 21st century Britain stand on the shoulders of women who came before us; they fought for our rights and first broke the glass ceiling. But the reality is that we are still far from a world and a workplace where men and women are truly equal.

The truth is that men still run the world so when it comes to the decisions that affect us all, women’s voices are not heard equally. Of 195 independent countries in the world, only 22 have female leaders. In the UK, women hold 25.8% of director roles at FTSE 100 companies, but of 286 women directors, only 26 of them are Executive Directors – just 8.9%. Among FTSE 250 companies, women hold 19.8% of director roles, but only 5.7% of Executive Directors are women.

Non-executive board members are involved in the policy making decisions for the business but not in the day to day operations. Women are paid on average 13.9% less an hour than men working full-time. Equal Pay Day marks the day in the year when women effectively stop getting paid as a result of the gender pay gap. Whist the pay gap has been closing, progress has been stalled. At the current rate of progress it will take over 50 years to close the gap for full time workers in the UK.

It’s important to recognize our progress and the plight of women before us. These figures are vast improvements on those recorded in 2011 when Lord Mervyn Davies first commissioned a report on gender equality in the boardroom and set a 25% target for women directors. Of FTSE 100 companies, none have all-male boards, compared to 21 in 2011. Whilst women have made incredible progress, the revolution has stalled. Women make up 47% of the labor force and yet there are still vast inequalities between men and women.

The laws of economics and diversity studies tell us that if we tapped the entire pool of human resources and talent, our collective performance would improve.  Legendary entrepreneur and investor, Warren Buffet, once stated that one of the reasons for his success was that he was competing with only half of the population. Conditions for all women will improve when there are more women in leadership roles giving a voice for women everywhere. Let's stand up and be a part of the solution. Let's start believing that #SheCanCode.