Inequality Debates 5
December 3, 2012 in uncategorized
Are The World’s Top-Dogs Really all Men?
Men have spent an awfully long time being in charge of the world. The whole
history of it, in fact. You name it and men have always been leading it – politics,
religion, trade unions, the film industry, the art world. You get the idea. There is
a long way to go before we see a world with an equal balance of male and
female leaders and decision makers.
Seems a bit harsh, looks like women are doing great.
Just think of all those sober-suited photo calls splashed in our papers – the
government, the UN, the financial industry – row upon row of men. Of the world’s 188 directly elected leaders, only 16 are women. If you think that the UK paints a different picture of power, you’re very sadly mistaken. Rwanda, Angola, East Timor and Macedonia have a more representative parliament than the UK.
What’s stopping a woman from smashing that glass ceiling?
A woman’s success is limited in a number of ways. They end up missing out on promotion, training and benefits not only because of gender discrimination at work but because they have to shoulder the majority of family commitments
to boot. Talented, hardworking women end up having to work part-time or
interrupt and limit their careers to fit everything and everyone in. This is less
about ‘wanting it all’ than being forced into ‘having to do it all’. Ouch. That glass
Recent research found that after becoming a mum, almost half of women
managers of shops, salons and restaurants gave up their managerial
responsibilities to work as sales assistants, hairdressers or in other low-paid
roles when they had to find part-time work.
So what’s the balance of power like in poorer countries?
While some developing countries like Rwanda are storming ahead on the
female MP count, in many others women hold a tiny percentage of the power.
In countless villages around the world, men look after local politics and
businesses while women look after the home and children. Challenging this
status quo tends not to go down well at all.
But when women are encouraged to have a proper say in how communities
are run, amazing things start happening. In India, councils that are female-led
have 62% more drinking water projects than male-led councils. And women
often invest more heavily in areas that impact on health and education too. The
brilliant benefits of more women at the top is clear – more women in charge
leads to a healthier, cleverer generation, stronger to break the cycle of poverty.