Although it’s agreed that women’s standing in the workplace has risen over the last 30-40 years, there is still a long way to go before anyone can truly claim that females are given the same opportunities as men to progress in their jobs.
Currently, women hold a mere 4.8% of CEO positions within S&P 500 companies, with only a handful of major companies, PepsiCo, General Motors, Hewlett-Packard and Yahoo opting for female leadership.
This inequality gap is not just prevalent at the higher echelons of major corporations, recent figures from the UN suggest that it will take around 70 years for the gender pay gap to close completely. This means that the equality acts passed around half a decade ago haven’t been able to solve the issues around this sensitive area.
One of the issues that continues to persist is the motherhood pay gap. Women who have a child and then return to work can expect to be paid less than a woman who's childless. This is something that legislation must look at if we’re to truly live within an equal society. To still be in a situation where women are punished for having a child is quite embarrassing and should be looked at with urgency.
Additionally, there’s no evidence to suggest that female participation at work has increased. In line with the Beijing Declaration, only 50% of women are in work, which when compared to men’s at 77% is low.
There has been development in this space, but it hasn’t been to the level that we all expected. Guy Ryder, Director General at the International Labour Organisation sums this up well when he says, ‘Has this progress met our expectations? The answer is decidedly no.’