Recently, I learned that 28 years ago a vote to admit women into Rotary clubs worldwide was a watershed moment in the history of Rotary. The vote and admission of women into the club came to fruition after a decades-long effort of men and women from all over the world. Although I commend Rotary International, and our own Des Moines Rotary club, for including women and making inclusion a part of their legacy, I remain unsettled about the state of gender equality in our own back yard – and across the globe. This prompted me to look up some information about gender equality around the world.
I started with the Global Gender Gap Report, which is a World Economic Forum report that quantifies the magnitude of gender disparities and tracks their progress over time, with a specific focus on the relative gaps between women and men across four key areas: health, education, economy and politics. The 2016 Report covers 144 countries. According to the 2016 Report, Iceland ranked #1 (greatest degree of gender equality), the U.S. ranked #45 and Yemen ranked #144. Although the U.S. scored better than many other countries, it clearly has work to do. And on a global scale, the gender gap has diminished slowly over the last 10 years. Per the report, if we continue to do so, it is estimated that it would take at least 100 more years before the world’s women stand on an equal footing with men.
I praise and salute the women, and men, who were the first to challenge the status-quo and pushed us forward to strive for gender equity. If we’re lucky, we’ll have many more of these women, and men, breaking barriers in – and for – our communities.
If you’re like me and need some inspiration to shake things up a bit, here are some options:
Ted Talks by strong women leaders
Who should run more of the world? Women. Until then, enjoy these talks by awesome women who lead fiercely fearlessly.
Women from multiple generations share their “wow, you need to know this” stories that propelled their careers. Women you may never meet will become your mentors. Forbes contributor, author and entrepreneur Denise Restauri, invites you into her NYC apartment to tap into her conversations with successful women who are sharing vulnerable moments. For high points to when good ideas go bad, to moments of sudden insight when you just know you must risk it all.