Over the years, volumes of studies stress the importance of empowering women in business and in the workplace and the need to end gender discrimination or gender bias, in its more subtle form. The problem with this approach is that it is not holistic and usually doesn’t include input from society, business, the working environment, and women, themselves. By this, we do not underestimate the importance of legislations that are implemented in order to help women succeed in business and in their life in general. First and foremost it is a matter of universal balance, of fairness and of high human values. Like the great ‘Aristotle Onassis’ quoted: “If women didn’t exist, all the money in the world would have no meaning”.
In order to identify the importance of women in business, we can take a look at numerous examples that show that companies are indeed performing differently when women are empowered. Female executives with successful track records are also becoming role models for other women and other men who admire their refined skills, hard work, and their dedication. Men especially admire the so called “woman’s touch” that in business has to do with a more eloquent treatment for either “business as usual” or for “stressful business situations”. There are also recent examples that show that when it comes to profits, companies with women in their leadership do not fall behind those of men in their leadership.
We stated that balance is the key for women to be empowered and succeed in business. The fact that women are different than men is actually very positive when it comes to business. Diversity in business is the number one factor for generating new ideas. It is very important, therefore, to protect and nurture diversity by enhancing the differences that make people special and unique. There should be no over exaggeration and treatment of every single fact of human and business life as a “discrimination”. We particularly refer to the example of the industry perspective. There are industries which employ a larger number of women and have seniority and high profile positions such as in hospitality, education, healthcare, marketing and other areas. Whereas more numbers of men are found in traditional industries like construction, manufacturing, mining, transportation etc. Reference is made to this example in order to understand that, because we are different and we want to work in different fields, that doesn’t necessarily mean that there is a discrimination against women or that both sexes don’t have equal rights. You don’t see large numbers of women working in extremely harsh environments. Our role in society and in the business
Our role in society and in the business world is to alleviate the burdens that modern women face. Stronger efforts from governmental bodies and enterprises need to be made to support a healthy environment where women feel safe to openly pursue their careers and their dreams. The creation of families and giving birth to children cannot happen without women. We all owe to women beyond what we can grasp as they hold the great gift of motherhood.
It is our duty to support their empowerment in the workplace. Undeniably we should accept the fact that women can grow the business itself; as they are the backbone of a company and the leaders of enterprises. First of all, we should recognize the fact that family and motherhood combined with the gender bias in the workplace is a heavy burden.
First of all, we should recognize the fact that family and motherhood combined with the gender bias in the workplace is a heavy burden.
The existing insufficient supportive structures for women should primarily be addressed by newly improved legislations. This should also pertain to men who chose to stay at home or allow parents to share the responsibilities of childcare. This is known as the ‘Scandinavian model’ and has started gaining traction in different places around the world, although it is still in its early stages. One more important aspect is the building of the physical infrastructure that can help working mothers not to be discriminated in the workplace due to their maternal responsibilities. Lack of such an infrastructure can potentially make working mothers less competitive than their men colleagues or women colleagues without small children.
This is known as the ‘Scandinavian model’ and has started gaining traction in different places around the world, although it is still in its early stages. One more important aspect is the building of the physical infrastructure that can help working mothers not to be discriminated in the workplace due to their maternal responsibilities. Lack of such an infrastructure can potentially make working mothers less competitive than their men colleagues or women colleagues without small children. There is still more that we can do for enabling women to achieve their full potential and break through the “glass ceiling”. Apart from making sure that evaluation standards and criteria are equally consistent and very
There is still more that we can do for enabling women to achieve their full potential and break through the “glass ceiling”. Apart from making sure that evaluation standards and criteria are equally consistent and very clear to all people inside an organization, it is equally important for the board of directors to increase the women representation and make sure that equal opportunities are in place for all. For this to take place senior executives of both genders should provide the guidance, training and the encouragement to qualified women in order to excel and thrive in the business field and at all levels of the corporate ladder.
In order for the above to obtain an even greater momentum, there is one factor that is not only imperative it is a prerequisite and this factor is called POLITICS.
The role of women in politics
As much as we would not like to admit it, women still continue to face numerous obstacles in achieving representation in governance. Their participation is still at unacceptably small levels being limited by the assumption that women’s proper sphere is the “private” sphere. Whereas the “public” domain is one of political authority and contestation, the “private” realm is associated with the family and the home. By limiting women to the private sphere, their ability to enter the political arena is curtailed.
It is rather easy for us now, blessed with thousands of years of societal evolution, to look back on the classical civilizations and think ourselves above them.
However, it takes a more nuanced mind to recognize that whatever advancements we have made as a species was only made possible because there were brave individuals, sometimes thousands of years in the past, who took the first meager steps toward progress.
Even with all that in consideration, we must realize a woman’s lack of rights in ancient times means that there are very few notable women who pop up on the classical timeline. After all, it’s hard to shape the direction of Western society when you are viewed as little more than property.
The ones who do catch the attention of history, therefore, are made all the more remarkable. Aspasia of Miletus was one such woman. Even with her critics, Aspasia enjoys a sterling reputation in our modern age. She was arguably one of the most important intellectual and political figures during the height of Athenian power, and she was undoubtedly the most remarkable woman to have ever lived during that age.
As opposed to the constricting limits of classical Athenian society, the forward behavior of the Spartan women shocked the Greeks. The greater freedoms of Spartan women began at birth; families treated females just as well as male babies. “It was the only Greek city in which woman was treated almost on equality with man.” Spartans educated them much in the same way as the boys attending school and encouraged them to participate in sports. Women were almost as educated as men because they were expected to take care of their interests and those of their husbands when the men were away at war, a regular occurrence in Spartan life. And both men and women, equally served the polis, the state. They were able to influence the community through public assemblies and make their opinions known through their men. Aristotle writes, “among Spartans in the days of their greatness; many things were managed by their women.” Women in Sparta could own property; they could dispose of it how they willed, they could inherit equal shares from their father’s estates.
This status of women in ancient Sparta resembles the status of women in many countries of our world today in the 21st century. In developing nations, having women at the table impacts how policy resources are spent — either through gender budgeting efforts or simply, such as in the case of climate change, showing how women in the developing world experience issues differently than men. The involvement of women in the climate movement, for example, has led to better policy making and spurred solutions like clean solar cook stoves.
In developing nations, having women at the table impacts how policy resources are spent — either through gender budgeting efforts or simply, such as in the case of climate change, showing how women in the developing world experience issues differently than men. The involvement of women in the climate movement, for example, has led to better policy making and spurred solutions like clean solar cook stoves.
Women’s leadership also helps drive direct change in structural policies including parental leave, child care, and pay.
A new dimension of women in politics emerged in recent years all over the world. More and more women have now been entering into politics. Conventional politics reflected male concerns and hence women were
notably absent in politics.
Welfare policies had been constructed and reinforced women’s traditional position as wives and mothers. Women have struggled with issues affecting them, especially their rights to property and vote in the 19th century and to abortion, equal pay and nursery provision in the 20th and 21st centuries.
Although immense progress has been made, women’s voices are still missing from the executive branches of governments and parliaments worldwide, slowing achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the United Nations agency tasked with supporting gender equality today said at the launch of a visual representation of women’s political empowerment.
The number of women Heads of State or Heads of Government fell from 19 to 17 since 2015, and progress in the number of women in parliament continues to be slow, according to the Women in Politics Map launched today by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and UN Women.
IPU data shows that the global average of women in national parliaments increased just slightly from 22.6 percent in 2015 to 23.3 percent in 2016. The number of female Speakers of the House, however, is up to the highest so far, with 53 out of 273 posts.
“Political campaigns are expensive,” was one of the challenges stated by women who run for office. It was noted that the media sometimes focus too much on women’s physical attributes rather than their
experiences and political platforms.
“In 2016, we saw confirmation of a trend we had been seeing, when it comes to representation of women in parliament, there is progress but the progress is excruciatingly slow. At this rate, it will take 50 years to reach 50-50 parity,” Mr. Chungong told the press. “This is a warning signal; we have to do something about this.”
Regionally, women’s representation in the Americas made the most significant gains, according to UN Women.
Women’s participation in parliaments rose to 25 per cent from 22.4 per cent in 2015, even as the region saw a drop in Heads of State with the Presidents of Brazil and Argentina leaving office.
Female ministers in Africa saw a decline in numbers, after years of steady growth. About 19.7 per cent of the region’s ministerial posts are held by women.
In Asia, women hold 11 per cent of ministerial posts, led by Indonesia whose Government is comprised of 25.7 percent women.
Among the Arab States, 9.7 per cent of senior executive posts are held by women, led by Tunisia and The United Arab Emirates, at 23.1 per cent and 26.7 per cent, respectively.
In Europe, the total percentage stood at 22.5 percent. A surprise came from the Nordic countries which have traditionally led the global stage in politics, but whose number of female ministers fell by more than six per
cent to 43.5 per cent.
Regional snapshot of women’s political power
Today’s report was launched on the sidelines of the 61st Commission on the Status of Women, known as the largest inter-governmental forum on women’s rights and gender equality. The theme this year is on women’s
economic empowerment in the changing world of work.
A common theme throughout the Commission has been the gender pay gap. Women on average are paid 77 cents for every one dollar earned by a man. Some names of powerful women political leaders to have influenced and influence the lives of millions of
people and that have changed the course of history:
ASPASIA, CLEOPATRA, THEODORA, QUEEN ELIZABETH -I, CATHERINE THE GREAT, QUEEN VICTORIA,
ELEANOR ROOSEVELT, ROSA PARKS, JEANETTE RANKIN, INDIRA GANDHI, LORETTA LYNCH, GOLDA
MEIR, MARGARET THATCHER, JANET YELLEN, ANGELA MERKEL
And many more. . .