International Women’s Day 2018

Woke up to International Women’s Day today with loud messages about strong call-to-action to #PressforProgress and gender parity.

But know what? It pisses me off we are still discussing parity and equality, gender gap progress, quotas, etc.

I fight for my own rights and I need no defender, protector, husband or boss to help me get to my rightful place. No government, legal framework or covenant will alter my position unless I (with a capital and bold I) choose to speak up, move, mark my ground.

I know I am biased and a Westerner. I am lucky to have been born a European and my childhood was not plagued by famine, war, genocide, religious prosecution or violence. My opportunities were “kinda” equal in the environment I grew up in. I took lots of chances and risks and made my choices within the latitude of a society that is more paternalistic than what my liberal nature would like. But life’s a bitch always. We all strive to make the best out of what we are given – and we fight, and move along chasing our dreams, listening to the silent drum beat that we hear on our life journey.

Yet it’s complicated. Decades after the feminist rallies of Gloria Steinem and Simone de Beauvoir and women are still confused about their roles, parental obligations, ” wifely stuff” and their careers. And perhaps it does have something to do with what the feminist journalist Anne Taylor Fleming called “the two out of three rule”—where “a woman can have only two out of three big pieces of life: love, work, children” (from her book Motherhood Deferred, p. 84).

And the data is staggering. Some national studies show that up to 70 per cent of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime.

The Global Gender Gap Report shows that the gap is widening, so there desperately needs to be new ways of thinking if the world is to close the gender gap. “Progress is regressing and moving backwards. Instead of taking 170 years to close the gap at the current rate of progress, it is estimated that gender parity across the world will take over two centuries, 217 years to be exact.”

Ernst & Young back in 2015 created EY Women to explore women in business. In their recent report they identified 5 “gap” areas where corporations and business leadership need to work on:

1. The reality disconnect: Business leaders assume the issue is nearly solved despite little progress within their own companies.
2. The data disconnect: Companies don’t effectively measure how well women
are progressing through the workforce and into senior leadership.
3. The pipeline disconnect: Organizations aren’t creating pipelines for future
female leaders.
4. The perception and perspective disconnect: Men and women don’t see
the issue the same way.
5. The progress disconnect: Different sectors agree on the value of diversity
but are making uneven progress toward gender parity.

I agree and… I disagree. I have (white) men clients who face similar challenges with their development and career advancement. The problem is not a woman’s but a people issue. People – men and women – get marginalized, stuck, labeled, stereotyped and anything in between you can imagine.

Our humanity and sense of justice and parity does not equally apply to blacks, Muslims, gays, transgenders, refugees and anyone who is different from us. It’s only human nature. Not an excuse; just an observation. 

So, we fight. We do not hesitate. We move on all of us, women, men… Earthlings…and we all account to our own personal deity for the kind of decent or indecent human we choose to be.

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