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100 Facts Why Gender Equality matters

The Busy Person’s Guide: 100 Facts on Why Gender Equality matters 

The Busy Person’s Guide: 100 Facts Why Gender Equality matters – all the need-to-know info over a coffee or on your commute.

No matter where you are in the world, gender equality should be a fundamental human right. Endeavouring to achieve gender equality is critical to all areas of a healthy society, from reducing poverty to promoting girls’ and boys’ health, education, protection, and well-being.
It is essential to acknowledge that we have indeed achieved plenty in recent history on the road to gender equality. Still, we have a long way to go, and new/modern systemic divides in society have also come to the forefront.

This was all the more apparent during the recent pandemic, typically, in times of great crisis, women are often on the front lines and gender equality progress is set back.
Women’s participation is vital to success against shared global threats. Although gender inequality is a global issue that spans politics, healthcare, climate change, and the workplace, poverty has asserted inequality. When women and men do not have equal access to resources, opportunities or representation, there are enormous direct economic and social costs.

The fight for gender equality can be emotive, passionate, and sometimes divisive. But it can also be presented very simply with facts, which is what this report aims to do. Here we bring you 100 facts on why gender equality matters, so that you or those people around you can better understand the impact that not having equality between men and women is having on individuals and the systems around them. 

We start with business-related facts, and then move into wider society. This mirrors our focus as an organisation that empowers women. At Shine we believe most importantly that if we can see more women reach the top in business, that acts as an accelerator for change, far beyond the boardroom and into the world at large – be it education, healthcare, government, politics, the economy, or climate change.

Remember that when women thrive, men thrive, business thrives. Getting more women to the top and supporting them from within is what leads to genuine gender parity in your organisation and sustainable growth; we can help you achieve it.


10 Facts On Why Gender Equality Matters To Business Performance

10 Facts On Why Gender Equality Matters To Innovation 

10 Facts On Why Gender Equality Matters To Talent Attraction And Retention 

10 facts on why gender equality matters to intersectionality and vice versa

10 Facts On Why Gender Equality Matters Post-Pandemic

10 Facts On Why Gender Equality Matters To Education  

10 Facts On Why Gender Equality Matters To The Economy

10 Facts On Why Gender Equality Matters To Healthcare 

10 Facts On Why Gender Equality Matters To In Politics 

10 Facts On Why Gender Equality Matters To Climate Change 

10 Facts On Why Gender Equality Matters To Business Performance

There are clear connections to be drawn between higher numbers of women within an organisation and business performance. The evidence is clear and has been for decades. At Shine we used to have to share these business-related stats with decision makers when explaining the reasons behind what we do. Now our conversations instead focus on how we do it rather than why. It’s a given, and any organisation that doesn’t take action to create gender parity will see a negative impact on a range of measures.

1. More women across all levels correlates to stronger financial performance. 

Goldman Sachs, 2020 ‘Womanomics report’ 

2. Companies with low gender and racial diversity levels are 29% more likely to make less money. 

McKinsey, 2018 ‘Delivering through diversity 

Gender equality creates a competitive advantage. 

3. Companies with gender diversity are 27% more likely to outperform their peers on longer-term value creation. 

McKinsey, 2018 ‘Delivering through diversity 

When there are more women on the senior team, this impact increases. 

4. Executive teams with equal representation of women and men are 21% more likely to experience above-average profitability. 

McKinsey, 2018 ‘Delivering through diversity 

5. More women in senior roles leads to stock price outperformance. 

Goldman Sachs, 2020 ‘Womanomics report’ 

10 Facts On Why Gender Equality Matters To Business Performance

6. In a survey of 1000 large organisations across 15 countries, those with more than 30% of women at a senior level were 48% more likely to outperform the least gender-diverse companies. 

McKinsey 2020, ‘Diversity wins: how inclusion matters’ 

It’s not just employees that want to work for inclusive and diverse companies. It’s increasingly expected by customers, clients, partners, and investors. 

7. With more than USD 6 trillion in assets under management, BlackRock announced in 2018 that all of the companies it invested in needed to have at least two women on their board, urging the Russell 1000 companies with less than this to act on it. As a result, the number of companies with less than two women on the board dropped by 14% within 5 months. 

White & Dholakia, 2018 ‘Ranks of US gender-diverse boards grow, but less than 25% of directors are women’ 

This is just one example. We hear stories every week of clients that expect even higher representation of women in meetings.

8. Brands promoting gender-balanced marketing are worth £774 billion more. 

Kantar, 2019, ‘WhatWomenWant?’ 

9. “By 2025 Nike has set a goal for 100% of our strategic suppliers to increase access to career opportunities for the women they employ. To hold account, we have worked with the International Center for Research on Women to develop a measurement tool for gender equity”. 

Nike, 2020 ‘FY20 Impact report’ 

10. A 2021 survey of the public across 17 countries, representing half of the world’s population, found that the majority of men and women fully support gender equality and expect business leaders to take steps to achieve parity. However, a fifth said they would go as far as to boycott a company based on their views on the importance of gender equality.   

Women Deliver, 2021 ‘Citizens call for a gender-equal world: a roadmap for action’ 

So, gender equality is not simply a ‘nice’ thing for businesses to have. It matters to every type of stakeholder, not least customers. (Especially since the famous 2009 Boston Consulting Group study which found that women make 80% of all household purchases). All stakeholders are becoming very overt with their choices and the reasons why. But, with gender equality comes healthier finances and longevity, so it’s hard to find reasons as to why it shouldn’t be a priority for all organisations in 2022.   

10 Facts On Why Gender Equality Matters To Business Performance

10 Facts On Why Gender Equality Matters To Innovation

Gender diverse businesses are more successful across a range of factors (see ‘10 facts on why gender equality matters to business performance’), but arguably one of the most important areas against a rapidly changing consumer landscape (particularly one where most purchasing decisions are made by women) is that of innovation. 

1. 81% of employees from digitally mature companies cite innovation as the number one driver of their success. 

Deloitte & MIT Sloan Management Review, 2019 ‘Accelerating digital innovation inside and out’ 

There is a direct link between diversity, gender inclusion, innovation and financial performance. 

2. Companies that have an inclusive culture are six times more likely to be innovative. 

Juliet Bourke, 2016 Which Two Heads are Better Than One?  

3. A survey of 18,200 professionals across 27 countries found that the impact to innovation when a business has an equal culture, particularly an equal gender balance, is 42 times greater than the impact of increasing salaries. 

Accenture, 2018 ‘Equality = innovation report’ 

4. Innovative companies have 2.2 times higher future earning potential than those which do not innovate. It differentiates their offering and provides a competitive advantage.  

Global Data, 2022 ‘Do innovative companies outperform?’ 

But, it’s argued that gender equality only drives significant innovation if there are women decision makers in the business.  

5. A study of 171 German, Swiss and Austrian companies found an equal representation of women within an organisation will only lead to innovation if enough of the women are managers. 

Lorenzo et. Al, 2017 ‘The mix that matters’ 

10 Facts On Why Gender Equality Matters To Innovation

6. When there are at least 30% of women on a management team, there is a positive impact on innovation.  

Statistics Denmark, 2009  

7. The more diverse the management team, the better the decisions they make. 

Great Place to Work, 2020 ‘Why diverse and inclusive teams are the engines of innovation’ 

8. Companies with diverse management teams have 19% higher revenues, because of innovation. 

Boston Consulting Group, 2018 ‘How diverse leadership teams boost innovation’ 

And those leaders need to genuinely empower their teams in order for it to occur in a meaningful way. 

9. Employees in equal cultures see less barriers to innovation and are less afraid of failure. 

10. 95% of leaders say that innovation is vital to competitiveness and survival, and 91% of employees want to innovate. However while 76% of leaders say they regularly empower employees to be innovative, only 42% agree with them. 

Accenture, 2018 ‘Equality = innovation report’ 

Gender equality and a culture of inclusion will create the space for innovation, but closing the gender pay gap at the most senior levels and having more female decision makers as a result, is what will accelerate innovation and business success. It’s further proof that it’s not enough to simply accept that women will drop out at the mid-senior level – it makes business sense to empower and support them to stay, and thrive. 

10 Facts On Why Gender Equality Matters To Innovation

10 Facts On Why Gender Equality Matters To Talent Attraction And Retention 

Having been of importance to a minority of industries, taking steps to gender equality is now an expectation from the people you hire and employ, even in those sectors where men have historically dominated. There is a global shortage of talent and the optics around this are huge. 

1. Nearly a third of jobseekers would not apply to a company lacking in diversity.  

Glassdoor, 2021 ‘What job seekers really think about your D&I stats.’  

Not only that, but it’s also a self-fulfilling cycle. If you want to attract more women in order to achieve a better gender balance, you need to understand that female jobseekers are particularly interested in a company’s D&I performance when considering a potential employer. 

2. 61% of women look at whether a leadership team is diverse, 67% at whether there are people similar to them who could be role models, and 56% at whether the business shares its D&I progress in the public domain when choosing an employer. 

PWC, 2017 ‘Winning the fight for female talent.’ 

This cycle continues when you have female talent in place. 

3. Women are twice as likely than men to support D&I efforts. 

McKinsey, 2021 ‘Women in the Workplace Report’ 

And, it’s been proven that women managers perform better than male managers at meeting all employees’ essential workplace requirements. This is particularly a focus post-COVID. 

4. A study of 27 million employees in the US found that people who work for a female manager are 26% more likely to strongly agree that there’s someone encouraging their development at work. And they’re 29% more likely to strongly agree that they’ve had a conversation about their progress during the last 6 months. 

Gallup, ‘State of the American Manager Report 

5. Women managers are most likely to support their team’s needs post-pandemic. 

McKinsey, 2021 ‘Women in the Workplace Report‘ 

This is perhaps a factor in why it’s been found that women are more engaged in their work. And this can have a hugely positive impact on business performance. 

10 Facts On Why Gender Equality Matters To Talent Attraction And Retention

6. Female managers of every working age are found to be more engaged than their male counterparts. (41% Vs 35%)  

Gallup, ‘State of the American Manager Report 

7. Teams that are highly engaged are 20% more productive. 

Gallup, 2017 ‘The right culture report‘ 

8. People with a high sense of belonging see their performance at work increase by 56%.  

Harvard Business Review, 2019 ‘The value of belonging at work‘ 

A sense of belonging and ethics is also key to retaining talent. 

9. Employee turnover is reduced by 50% when employees have a sense of belonging, and the number of sick days taken by people is significantly reduced. 

Harvard Business Review, 2019 ‘The value of belonging at work‘ 

10. When people believe their organisation has a higher purpose than simply profits, they are 27% more likely to stay. 

Tinypulse, 2019 ‘Employee Retention Report 

So, gender equality clearly is an integral part of any successful employee attraction, engagement and retention strategy, across all levels. Ignoring it will see businesses lose out on the best talent, particularly women, and therefore feel that impact on overall performance (see also ’10 facts on why gender equality matters to business performance’).

It’s equally as important to take meaningful action. Employees will see through box-ticking efforts or ‘gender-washing’ – the recent Gender Pay Gap Twitter bot was an excellent example of this.

10 Facts On Why Gender Equality Matters To Talent Attraction And Retention

10 Facts On Why Gender Equality Matters To Intersectionality and Vice Versa

There are approaches to feminism that overlook the way that people’s social identities overlap to create deeper experiences of discrimination. The American Professor, Kimberlé Crenshaw first used the term ‘Intersectional Feminism’ in 1989 and explains that “not all inequality is created equal”. –  

Feminism through an intersectional lens is critical to fully understanding the true disparity that different groups of women face. A white woman can face gender disparity but has the advantage of race. A Black woman can be disadvantaged by both her gender and race. A non-white trans woman can experience discrimination because of her gender, ethnicity and gender identity. And so on. 

This impacts on every single area covered in this report. From education, to politics, economics, to healthcare. At work, this can manifest in how women are hired, rewarded, and their career progression. The way people are spoken about or to. How they are perceived and judged. 

A greater pay gap: 

1. White women in the US earned 81 cents for every dollar a white man earned in 2020. Non-white women earned 75 cents. 

Pay Scale, 2022 ‘2022 State of the Gender Pay Gap report’ 

2. On top of the gender pay gap, in 2021, the average UK employee with a disability was paid 14% less than those without. Those who are autistic were worst-hit, getting paid a third less than their peers.  

UK Office for National Statistics, 2022  

Lack of representation at the most senior levels: 

3. In 2019, 21% of the US C-Suite are women. 4% are non-white women and only 1% are Black women. 

McKinsey & Lean In, 2019 ‘Women in the workplace report’ 

The potential to be hired in the first place: 

4. Often companies will claim that the talent pool for non-white men is too small in order to make diverse hires. However, research suggests that in the US, Black and Hispanic computer science and engineering students graduate from universities at twice the rate that tech companies hire them. 

USA Today, 2014 

Higher cases of harassment: 

5. A study of more than 1,000 LGBTQ+ people found that 54% of non-white lesbian, bisexual and trans women had reported unwanted touching at work, compared to 31% of white women. 

TUC, 2019 ‘Sexual harassment of LGBT people in the workplace’ 

10 Facts On Why Gender Equality Matters To Women's Intersectionality

More chance of leaving due to experiencing discrimination: 

6. A 2021 study of women in the workplace found that Black women, LGBTQ+ women, and women with disabilities are significantly more likely to experience micro-aggressive behaviour than white women. This includes people questioning their judgement, being interrupted or spoken over, their emotional state being commented on, and hearing insults spoken about their culture. 

McKinsey, 2021 ‘Women in the workplace’ 

7. Black employees are 30% more likely to leave their company within two years, than white employees. The number of Black women in this position is higher than Black men. 

Coqual 2020, ‘Being Black in corporate America’ 

This exacerbates the impact felt of gender inequality on individuals and systems and can create tensions within groups of people that identify as women. Because quite simply, some women experience greater inequality and suffer the impact than others. Even when women who live with a dimension of privilege recognise their standing in society, they are often not fully equipped to bring other women with them on the journey to equality.  

8. A 2020 study of 7,400 adults in the US found that 80% of white employees saw themselves as allies to non-white women. Yet, only 45% of those women said they have strong allies. The biggest gap was where white women saw allyship as being about confronting discrimination against non-white colleagues, yet non-white colleagues really wanted them to advocate for more opportunities. 

McKinsey, 2021 ‘Women in the workplace’  

There is clearly a need for improvement and for white women to actively become better allies to non-white women. Positively, it is found that overall, women leaders are much more likely than men to step up. (See also ’10 facts on why gender equality matters to talent attraction and retention’.) 

9. Women in leadership positions are twice as likely to spend time on DE&I work outside of their core job role. They are also more likely to take action as allies to non-white women. 

McKinsey, 2021 ‘Women in the workplace’ 

10. The Combahee River Collective Statement is a group of Black feminists that have been meeting since 1974. They believe that centering the most marginalised voices in society liberates others. “If Black women were free, it would mean that everyone else would have to be free since our freedom would necessitate the destruction of all systems of oppression”. 

Combahee River Collective, 1977 ‘The Combahee River Collective Statement’ 

Put bluntly, until all intersectional layers of equality are addressed, we will never see true gender equality. 

The fight for gender equality can be a fight for wider equality, as long as organisations are aware of the diversity within the diversity; understanding the complexities of intersectionality and building better for all. 

10 Facts On Why Gender Equality Matters To Women's Intersectionality

10 Facts On Why Gender Equality Matters Post-Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic is still dramatically changing the way we live our lives in many parts of the world at the time of writing this report (June 2022), two years after it first emerged. Even from early on, it became clear that women were statistically less likely to suffer the most extreme consequences of COVID such as ICU admission and death (see ‘10 facts on why gender equality matters to healthcare), however the overall impact on their quality of life was significantly worse than on men’s.

We see in ’10 facts on why gender equality matters to climate change’, that when disasters occur, they magnify existing inequalities. This is no different with COVID. 

1. Around the world, COVID has deepened inequalities and exposed vulnerabilities in social, political and economic systems. This has had a significant impact on women and girls. 

UN Women, 2020 ‘The Impact of COVID 19 on Women’ 

One of the biggest challenges for women was closing childcare and educational facilities during lockdowns and the resulting inequality in the home. 

2. In 2020, working mothers with children 12 and under in the US spent an average of 8.3 hours on childcare and homeschooling and worked 6.1 hours per weekday. These mothers had to reduce their time spent working as a result. And this was by 4 to 4.5 times more than fathers did. 

Bauer, Estep and Yee, 2021 ‘Time waited for no mom in 2020’ 

This situation became unsustainable for many and contributed to a significant loss of women in the workforce.  

3. 26% of women had lost their job during the pandemic by September 2021, Vs 20% of men. 

4. In March 2020 women were 1.8 times more likely than men to opt-out of paid employment in order to care for others. By September 2021 this increased to 2.4 times more likely. This trend occurred in 77 of the 107 countries surveyed. 

Flor, et. all, 2022 ‘Quantifying the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on gender equality on health, social and economic indicators’ 

5. In the UK, women were a third more likely to work in a sector that was shut down in the pandemic than men. 

Joyce & Xu, 2020 ‘Sector shutdowns during the coronavirus crisis: which workers are most exposed?’ 

10 Facts On Why Gender Equality Matters Post-Pandemic

6. In the US, by February 2022, men had gained back all of their losses to the workforce since February 2020. 1.8 million women were still out of the workforce. 

National Women’s Law Center, 2022 ‘Men have now recouped their pandemic-related labor force losses while women lag behind.’ 

Those that remained actively employed, experienced immense pressure from balancing work and home life simultaneously. Plus, the underlying possibility of also losing their job or being furloughed and taking on the emotional burden of their teams. And this was on top of the very real threat that COVID posed on people’s health and lives. This has led to unprecedented levels of burnout in women around the globe. 

7. Women consistently took on more ‘office housework’ during the pandemic. 31% of employees with a female manager reported having constant emotional support at work, Vs 19% with a male manager. 

McKinsey & Lean In, 2021 ‘Women in the workplace 2021’ 

8. During the pandemic, 27% of mothers said their mental health deteriorated compared to 16% of fathers. 

Ipsos, 2021 ‘The COVID 19 effect on the global gender gap’ 

With the blurring of work and life boundaries, whilst this has put women under immense pressure, it also allowed everyone that typically worked in an office environment to work more flexibly and freely, rewriting the rules around ‘presenteeism’ and ‘productivity’ and changing employee expectations. At Shine, when we work with professional women around the world now, one of their biggest concerns is that things will just go back to how they were pre-pandemic. Of course, there are benefits to everyone, but when working mothers, in particular, were able to get their children back into childcare and education facilities, the flexibility that comes with working remotely enabled them to manage their day better around drop off and pick up. 

9. More than 9 in 10 working parents and carers in the UK want their workplace to retain flexible working post-COVID-19. 

Working Families, 2021 ‘COVID-19 and flexible working.’ 

What’s key about this, is that men continue to work in the same way and increasingly see it as their joint responsibility to manage home life. Otherwise, there is a risk that women will lack visibility when it matters. It’s a controversial topic and one that we hope becomes less about gender and more about the human way of working. But nonetheless, something for employers to consider when creating new working policies that drive parity for women. 

10. A 2021 study of 10,000 professional workers across the US, UK, Australia, France, Germany and Japan found that over a third of white men wanted to return to the office full time, compared to around 22% of women. 

Future Forum, 2021 ‘Who wants to return to the office?’ 

COVID-19 exacerbated existing gender disparities. But, in doing so, it did shine a light on many issues facing women around the world, particularly in the workplace. As part of this, it also raised awareness of intersectional feminism and the ways that specific groups of women are impacted much more significantly by inequality than others (see ‘10 facts on why gender equality matters to intersectionality and vice versa’). 

Such a catastrophic global event will always act as a catalyst for change. The opportunity is to make this change for the better. Women and men need to stand their ground and demand a more flexible working pattern. Balanced correctly, the benefits to employees, to equality and to business productivity are proven. 

10 Facts On Why Gender Equality Matters Post-Pandemic

10 Facts On Why Gender Equality Matters To Education    

Across the world, millions of girls are excluded from having an education. This stems from poverty, geographical location, early marriage and gender-based violence, and historical and cultural attitudes towards the role of women in society, whereby typically girls and boys are taught different things. This is a complex and multi-faceted issue, but global gender equality can never be achieved unless girls are educated. 

1. 16 million girls worldwide will never enter a classroom in their lifetime and women make up two thirds of the 750 million adults that have no basic literacy skills. 

UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2019 

2. Just 49% of countries have achieved gender parity in primary education, and at the upper secondary level, the gap widens to 24%. 

Unicef, 2022 

3. It’s estimated that the COVID crisis could have driven 20 million more girls of secondary school age out of school once it has passed throughout the world. 

Unicef, 2022 ‘Girls’ education and COVID 19’ 

In today’s modern society, and being morally fair that girls have the same access to education as boys, closing the gender gap would significantly develop entire economies and impact future generations. 

4. In Asia Pacific it’s estimated that up to US$30 billion is lost annually due to the education gender gap. 

5. Advancing girls’ education would lead to lifetime earnings in today’s generation of girls of up to 68% of annual GDP. 

World Economic Forum, 2015 ‘The Global Gender Gap Report’ 

10 Facts On Why Gender Equality Matters To Education

6. If all girls finished their secondary education, by 2030 the GDP of developing countries could be boosted by 10%. 

Plan International / Citi Global Insights, 2020  

7. Educated women are more informed about their health, have less children, marry later and their own children are healthier as a result. In addition, they are more likely to work, and when they do they earn higher incomes. 

The World Bank, 2022 

8. It’s estimated that when a nation’s girls fail to complete 12 years’ of education, it costs countries up to $30 trillion in lost lifetime productivity and earnings. 

The World Bank, 2018, ‘Not educating girls costs countries trillions of dollars.’ 

It’s not just important that girls simply get an education. Studying certain subjects over others will enable them to get into higher paid careers, and positions of influence. 

9. The number of girls enrolling in economics studies at school has declined by 78% since 1992. Today only 37% of economics students at university are women. In its 60 years, there has never been a female governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia. 

Reserve Bank of Australia, 2022 ‘Exploring the confidence gap’ 

With technology rapidly evolving the way in which we work, science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects teach the skills needed to participate in the workforce and economies of the future. If girls don’t catch up to boys, they will lose out on opportunities and the pay gap will remain, or worsen. (See also ’10 facts on why gender equality matters to the economy’.)

10. In higher education globally, around 30% of STEM students are women (in Information Communications Technology this drops as low as 3%). And even then, a higher number of women leave STEM studies and professions than men. Only 28% of the world’s current researchers are women.   

UNESCO, 2017 ‘Cracking the code’ 

Many millions of girls face a struggle to get any sort of education at all, and this has a huge impact on the economies of developing markets. Moreover, the educational gender gap still exists when women study at university level, even if they choose STEM subjects, that men historically choose more. More gender inclusion in these studies is needed if women are to be equipped for roles in the workforce of the future.  

10 Facts On Why Gender Equality Matters To Education

10 Facts On Why Gender Equality Matters To The Economy

As we see with ’10 facts on why gender equality matters to education’, many girls and women around the world are not set up to play a fair and an equal role in the economy from the get-go. Even if they want to work, their education, societal expectations around women’s Vs men’s roles, a lack of affordable childcare, workplace discrimination and even the law all reduce women’s active participation in the labour market.

1. The global participation rate for women in the workforce is just over 50%, compared to 80% of men. In South Asia and the Middle East, this drops to less than a quarter. 

World Bank, 2022 ‘Female labor force participation’ 

2. Over 2.7 billion women around the world are restricted from having the same jobs as men, by law. An assessment carried out as recently as 2018 found that of 189 economies reviewed, 104 still had laws banning women from working in certain jobs. 59 had no sexual harassment legislation and there were 18 economies where a husband could legally stop their wife from having a job. 

World Bank, 2018 ‘Women, Business and the Law’ 

3. 70% of women, regardless of their current status, prefer to work in a paid job.  

ILO & Gallup, 2017 ‘Towards a better future for women and work’ 

The economic empowerment of women not only improves their quality of life, with greater access to resources, control over their time and bodies and a voice in decision making; but it also benefits everyone. 

4. Gender inequality in earnings could lead to a loss in wealth of USD 23,620 per person globally on a per capita basis.  

5. Across 141 countries, due to gender inequality, the loss in human capital wealth is estimated to be USD 160.2 trillion. 

Wodon & De La Briere, 2018 ‘The cost of gender inequality’ 

10 Facts On Why Gender Equality Matters To The Economy

6. By completely closing the global gender gap in the workforce, USD 28 trillion could be added to GDP – the equivalent to the GDP of the US and China. 

McKinsey, 2015 ‘How advancing women’s equality can add $12 trillion to global growth’ 

7. If female employment rates increased in OECD countries to match the rate in Sweden, it could boost GDP by over USD 6 trillion. 

PWC, 2022 ‘Women in work index 2022’ 

In a professional world that was originally designed for men, change is needed to make conditions more suitable for women and their specific needs (much as dictated by societal expectations), even if that comes at a cost.  

8. A 2% investment in childcare equates to 6% growth in any economy. 

UN Women, 2017 ‘Parental leave is the key to economic prosperity’ 

We see the consequences of COVID-19 on women’s employment and their standing in the economy. Across the next decade, women stand a chance of being pushed even further out of the economy with the transition to ‘Net Zero’, whereby new jobs will be created in green growth sectors. 

9. Nearly 31% of the male OECD workforce are currently employed in green growth, Vs 11% of the female workforce. This puts men at an advantage for any new positions that are created. 

10. If organisations in these sectors fail to increase the number of women they employ, it’s believed the employment gap in the OECD could increase from 20.8% in 2020 to 22.5% in 2030. 

PWC, 2022 ‘Women in work index 2022’ 

Clearly when you look at gender equality from an economics perspective, it makes absolute sense. The huge complexity of why it exists is difficult to navigate, but it will continue to worsen if women are not provided the same opportunities as men to gain an education, enter the workforce and be paid fairly for it, and find future-proofed careers.  

10 Facts On Why Gender Equality Matters To The Economy

10 Facts On Why Gender Equality Matters In Healthcare 

As we saw with 10 facts on why gender equality matters to education, there are typically less woman who study and enter STEM vocations than men. However, the number of women and men that enter a medical career is, in some countries, equal.

1. In the USA, 50% of all medical students are women. 

American Physical Society, 2017

Inequalities appear in the way that medicine is taught and researched – the human body, by default, being male. 

2. History has assumed that aside from size and the reproductive system, there isn’t anything different between male and female bodies. Medical education assumes that there is a male ‘norm’, and that anything outside of that is ‘atypical’, or ‘abnormal’. Students learn about physiology, and female physiology. 

Caroline Criado-Perez, 2019 ‘Invisible Women’

3. Anatomy textbooks mostly depict the male body as default, except in sex-specific sections. Gendered roles, emotions and contexts are also stereotyped in visuals, and there is a lack of overall diversity. 

Parker, Larkin and Cockburn, 2018 ‘A visual analysis of gender bias in contemporary anatomy textbooks’ 

4. “The science that informs medicine – including the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease – routinely fails to consider the crucial impact of sex and gender. This happens in the earliest stages of research, when females are excluded from animal and human studies or the sex of the animals isn’t stated in the published results. Once clinical trials begin, researchers frequently do not enroll adequate numbers of women or, when they do, fail to analyze or report data separately by sex. This hampers our ability to identify important differences that could benefit the health of all.” 

Brigham and Women’s Hospital, 2014 ‘Sex-specific medical research, why women’s health can’t wait’

This approach fails to take into consideration the very different ways that men and women have been found to react to certain diseases and drugs, putting the health of women at a significantly higher risk to men. 

5. Autoimmune diseases are reported in approximately 8% of the global population, but 85% of people affected are women. 

Desai and Brinton, 2019 ‘Autoimmune disease in women’ 

10 Facts On Why Gender Equality Matters In Healthcare

6. Women are 70% more likely to live with depression than men, but studies on animals for brain disorders are 5 times more likely to be carried out on male specimens. 

Chen, 2014 ‘Women’s health harmed as scientists avoid gender’

Women research teams are trying to break this bias. And when more women invent medical products or solve medical issues, this also has a positive impact on men. 

7. Women are 35% more likely to create treatments for female conditions. However women currently only hold 13% of patents in the US. Looking back, it’s estimated that if all of the patents granted between 1976 and 2010 had been produced equally by men and women, 6,500 more female-focused inventions would have been released. 

8. Women are more likely to research cures for diseases such as endometriosis or cervical cancer, but they’re also more likely to adapt thinking around conditions that impact the global population, such as diabetes or abnormal heart rhythms. 

Konning, Samila and Ferguson, 2021 ‘Who do we invent for? Patents by women focus more on women’s health, but few women get to invent’

The recent COVID-19 pandemic highlighted discrepancies in the way in which men and women react to disease and treatment. The organisation Global Health 5050 is seeking to build a picture of COVID and gender, in order for policy makers and researchers to push for more gender-responsive recoveries in future. It’s hoped that the understanding of the differences in sex and disease may impact on all areas of modern medicine. 

9. As of November 2021, men globally make up an equal proportion of COVID-19 positive cases, but more ICU admissions (63%) and deaths (57%).  

Global Health 5050, 2021 ‘The Sex, Gender and COVID-19 project’ 

And, if that isn’t enough reason as to why gender equality matters to healthcare, there has been evidence to suggest that female doctors make for better doctors… 

10. In 2017, a research study found that when female doctors treat patients, they’re less likely to die or be readmitted to hospital. 

Tsugawa, Jena, Figueroa, Orav, Blumenthal, Jha, 2017 ‘Comparison of Hospital Mortality and Readmission Rates for Medicare Patients Treated by Male vs Female Physicians.’ 

Globally our approach to treating and eradicating disease has historically been biased regarding gender. However, it’s proven that when sex is taken into consideration and innovation occurs, this has a positive impact on female-specific conditions and those that affect the entire population. Investment in training without bias, research, and the manufacturing of new drugs and alternative treatments will literally save millions of lives. 

10 Facts On Why Gender Equality Matters In Healthcare

10 Facts On Why Gender Equality Matters In Politics 

Throughout this report, decisions have been made by governments around the world that directly impact on gender equality and the role for women in society. So, it would shock no one to understand the balance of women and men in positions of power. 

1. In 2021, there were just 10 women Heads of State and 13 women Heads of Government globally. 

UN Women, 2021 ‘Facts and figures: Women’s leadership and political participation’  

2. In 81 countries, there’s never been a woman Head of State. It’s estimated that based on the current rate, gender equality at this highest level won’t be reached until the year 2166. 

World Economic Forum, 2021 ‘Global gender gap report 2021’ 

3. Just 14 countries have 50% or more women in their cabinets, and globally 21% of government ministers are women. 

Inter-Parliamentary Union & UN Women, 2020 ‘Women in politics map’ 

Naturally, more women in government leads to greater championing of women’s rights and the shaping of policy that takes women into consideration and drives progress. 

4. Women are more likely not just to champion women’s issues, but to work collaboratively across party lines, even in the most combative environments. 

Inter-Parliamentary Union, 2008 ‘Equality in Politics: a survey of women and men in parliaments’ 

What’s interesting to unpick, is the impact to the overall population when more women exist in positions of power. 

5. When women are included as negotiators, mediators, signatories and witnesses, peace agreements are 35% more likely to last at least 15 years. 

O’Reilly, Ó’ Súlleabháin & Paffenholz, 2015 ‘Reimagining peacemaking: women’s roles in peace processes’ 

10 Facts On Why Gender Equality Matters In Politics 

6. Higher numbers of women in the political system contributes to lower levels of corruption. 

7. Countries with women in power are less likely to go to war and commit human rights abuses. 

8. Women are more likely to spend time on constituency work than men. 

King’s College London / The Global Institute for Women’s Leadership, 2018 ‘Women political leaders: the impact of gender on democracy’ 

Politics is not an easy environment for women to thrive in. The way in which female politicians are treated differently to their male colleagues has a direct impact on the number of women wanting to stand for leadership, even if they are already actively involved in politics. 

9. At a programme for aspiring female leaders in UK politics, more than 75% said that the sexist abuse they see female politicians experience online is enough to make them seriously consider whether to pursue a role in public life. 

Fabian Women’s Network, 2016 ‘Five years of the Fabian Women’s Network mentoring and political education programme’ 

10. During a debate between Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump in the build up to the US election, he interrupted her 51 times. She interrupted him just 17 times., 2016

Of all the sections in this report, this one feels like where we have the furthest to go. 2166 is a very far way off to having equal representation, not least when we know that women are most likely to drive policy and progress for women and girls. We can address education, health, business and other areas discussed in this research, and we can empower women (and all genders) to create the change they want to see. But it will take entire nations and even regions to lay the foundations of systemic change that will most rapidly accelerate gender equality. And there are other clear benefits to having more women in positions of power, so it’s in everyone’s interest to create the conditions needed to speed things up…

10 Facts On Why Gender Equality Matters In Politics 

10 Facts On Why Gender Equality Matters To Climate Change

Climate change affects every single person, plant and animal on the planet, regardless of gender. However, the extent of this impact, and the ability to prevent it is directly linked to gender equality. 

1. Research finds that whilst men and women fairly equally understand that global warming is happening and is a problem created by humans, more women believe that it can harm them personally, and also our future generations. 

Perhaps this is because climate change has a significantly greater impact on women and girls globally. It exacerbates existing social, political and economic inequalities and poses distinctive threats to their health and safety. 

Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, 2018 ‘Gender Differences in Public Understanding of Climate Change’ 

2. When climate related disasters hit, women are less likely to be able to access relief, less likely to survive and more likely to be injured.  

UN Women, 2022  

3. 80% of the people displaced by climate change around the world, are women. 

BBC, 2018 

4. Intersectional feminism presents an even more depressing outlook. Indigenous and Afro-descendent women and girls, older women, LGBTIQ+ people, women and girls with disabilities, migrant women, and those living in rural, remote, conflict and disaster-prone areas are most likely to suffer. 

UN Women, 2022  

As women are most likely to suffer the consequences of climate change, they are also more likely to influence the policies that can shape the way governments and businesses act to stop it. 

5. The representation of women in parliament leads countries to adopt more stringent climate change policies. 

Mavisakalyan, Astghik & Tarverdi, Yashar, 2019 ‘Gender and climate change: Do female parliamentarians make difference?’  

10 Facts On Why Gender Equality Matters To Climate Change

6. A 2005 study on gender equality and climate change found that, across 130 countries, female government representatives were more likely to sign on to international treaties to reduce global warming than men. 

Kari Norgaard and Richard York, 2005 ‘Gender Equality and State Environmentalism’ 

7. Having more women in parliament results in lower carbon dioxide emissions. 

Mavisakalyan, Astghik & Tarverdi, Yashar, 2019 ‘Gender and climate change: Do female parliamentarians make difference?’  

8. Companies with higher than 30% of women on the board have better climate governance globally. 

Sasakawa Peace Foundation & Bloomberg NEF, 2020 ‘Gender Diversity and Climate Innovation’ 

9. Higher investment in renewable power sources and improvements to energy efficiency are most likely in organisations with gender balance at the most senior levels. 

Kellie A. McElhaney & Sanaz Mobasseri, 2012 ‘Women Create a Sustainable Future’ 

10. Between 2016 to 2018, the growth rate of emissions from businesses with more than 30% female board members was only 0.6%, compared to 3.5% for the companies without any female board members. 

Sasakawa Peace Foundation & Bloomberg NEF, 2020 ‘Gender Diversity and Climate Innovation’ 

Major global organisations such as the UN have built gender into their climate change analysis and recommended approach. When women leaders are the most likely to take positive action to tackle the issues, and also the people on the planet most impacted by not doing so, it makes perfect sense. Unfortunately, whilst representation in these decision making roles is not equal (see ’10 Facts on why Gender Equality Matters to Politics’), progress will be significantly slower than it could and should be. Countries need to take note and understand the multiple layers of complexity that gender and other areas of diversity bring to the situation in order to prevent disaster for our future generations.    

Women really are the answer to saving the future of our planet – at an individual, collective and global level. 

10 Facts On Why Gender Equality Matters To Climate Change

There is plenty to digest there but it starts or rather, continues a vital conversation in society. It’s essential that we consider what can we do, in the positions we are in to get us closer to gender equality be that in our organisations, our homes or just in our everyday lives. Let us know what you think!

Just imagine what would happen if you gave more opportunities to the women in your organisation.  

If you want to stop talking about achieving gender parity and finally see it become a reality, we can make that happen. 

Share this article with your colleagues and the people around you and encourage a healthy discussion. And for anything else, follow us on social media or get in touch via email but remember when women thrive, men thrive, business thrives.  

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