The evidence is clear on why women don’t really need to be invested in:
- There’s not many of them – they are only the minority of the population (with men representing a whopping 50.4% http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/world-population-gender-age.php)
- They’re not leading anything – there are only 9 female CEO’s in the ASX 200 http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-08/fewer-women-ceos-than-men-named-john/8327938
- They’re not influential – they hold less than 25% of board positions
- They’re doing less at home – they have been decreasing their time at home and outsourcing duties as they increase employment hours
- The majority of women don’t suffer from domestic violence – 75% of women aren’t victims
When the evidence is so overwhelmingly showing that most women are ok, safe and not in key leadership positions then why spend a constrained economy’s resources in an area that clearly doesn’t require it?
Oops, that’s right – because those stats are actually all of the reasons why we must invest in women – and quickly!
Imagine a world where leadership was representative of the population. Or where all women could be free and safe from domestic violence. Or where household duties could be shared equally by all members of the family. These things won’t just miraculously happen but will require focused, consistent and significant investment.
I must admit that I was a little disappointed that this discussion wasn’t a key policy platform for either major party during the recent WA State elections. Instead it wasted time on speculating who might be the successor to Colin Barnett when he retires. Perhaps they feel that diversity is being debated enough by peak bodies, such as AICD, so they don’t really need to weigh in?
And no, it isn’t that I feel diversity is a matter for government policy alone. We need public and private sector action as well as ongoing investment by philanthropists committed to doing what is needed so that women and girls can enjoy equal entitlements and citizenship. That’s why organisations like 100 Women are so critical.
As the world faces increasingly complex challenges from climate change, technology and an ageing population, we simply can’t rely on only half the population to solve them. I dream of the scenario where all people are included in approaching these challenges in a creative, sustainable and balanced way and to achieve this we need all genders, ethnicities, ages and races to be engaged in co-creating our solutions.
We need courageous leaders to champion for inclusive problem solving, not hierarchy.
We need more stories being told of where investment is making a difference, supported by robust ROI-type evidence.
We need just as much attention spent on stamping out inequality as is spent on speculating about celebrity divorces (well more time obviously but let’s start somewhere!)
That is why investment in minorities, including women, is needed now more than ever.
Written by Annette Perrin