The world’s chief political and business leaders have gathered since 1971 to formulate strategies that focus on global, regional and industry agendas. Known as the World Economic Forum, they held their annual meeting in Switzerland in January of this year. They consistently concentrate on topics of “global public interest.” Per Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab, the 2016 theme was the “technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work and relate to one another.”
We are entering the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Why am I sharing this information with you? Gender equality was a searing subject at this year’s forum. According to the World Economic Forum’s most recent Global Gender Gap Report, it will take another 118 years for women to be earning the same as men. That statement is something to get fired up about!
Says Naadiya Moosajee, cofounder of WomEng, a South African nonprofit that trains women to be engineers, “The Fourth Industrial Revolution may just see a gender revolution as a happy consequence.” According to Moosajee, studies show that if we educate girls in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) at a younger age and adequately prepare women to enter the workforce, we increase the potential for overall economic growth and development.
Not only are we obligated as a society to offer education and opportunity, but we must also correct how our culture identifies the professional roles of women —and how young girls perceive themselves professionally. It is our responsibility to update the cultural norms and provide proper role models to ensure we don’t unnecessarily lose female talent.
Fatherly is a parenting resource with a website full of practical advice for young, modern dads. In 2015 the organization released its survey of nearly 500 kids, displaying a strong shift in what girls traditionally want to be when they grow up. Sure, they will probably change their mind multiple times, but the fact that the girls saw themselves as future doctors and scientists is a move in the right direction!
Please take a moment to visit the World Economic Forum website. I guarantee you will come away with a sense of hope. There are intelligent, thoughtful leaders on our planet with the ability not only to identify universal issues but also to provide collaborative solutions. The mere fact that gender parity, or lack thereof, appeared on their agenda is evidence enough.
Once you log into the World Economic Forum site, search for 8 top quotes on gender parity. My favorite quote is from Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, because it reminds me to keep my sense of humor and carry on:
“Men still run the world; I’m not sure it’s going so well.”
About Your Columnist
Becky Moore is a featured columnist for Women Lead, the official blog of Connected Women of Influence, covering the topic of teamwork. Becky is the branch manager of Silvergate Bank, serving the San Diego business community.