Following the banking collapse and the subsequent economic crisis we have heard the UK Prime Minister talking about the need to revise capitalism to become more responsible and the opposition leader has called for co-operative capitalism.
The times, they could be changing…
We have also witnessed a variety of large corporate sector companies talking about the need and benefit of a better gender balance in decision making positions within their ranks, and the implementation of various programmes to make this happen.
The times, they could be really changing…
Christine Lagarde is the first woman leader of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and she also famously commented that if Lehman Brothers had been Lehman Sisters would we have been in the economic crisis we are now experiencing?
Could the decision makers in our society be embracing the institutional shift we in the Women’s Voluntary and Community Sector have been calling for?
The times, we hope they are really changing…
Having worked in the Women’s Voluntary and Community Sector now for well over 20 years, it is hardly surprising that my passion in life is women’s equality. And it’s not just because it’s the moral thing to do, or because women’s rights are written into the law (both domestic and international), it’s also because it makes, social, economic, political and environmental sense. It makes sense for communities and society.
Women’s inequality manifests itself across all aspects of life; work, home, school etc. etc. and is a burden for women and girls which gives rise to barriers to their personal and professional progression. It might be our burden, but it’s most definitely society’s problem.
I am very hopeful that the dialogue occurring regarding the economy and gender equality mark the beginning of a realisation that the way forward must be a future which includes women as well as men as significant actors in the adaptation of our economic system which has been proven to be ineffective and sometimes catastrophic.
The dialogue is an integral part of change as nothing can happen if it is not first imagined and expressed. Dialogue alone, however is insufficient, we need strategies and then operational plans to be implemented to achieve substantive change and ultimately societal transformation.
Not quotas- I hear so many cry! So if not quotas what then? Targets? Good intentions are not enough we need actions not words!
In the main the workplace has been created to suit the needs of men with wives at home looking after the family; enabling them to work long hours away from home. There is now evidence to suggest that not only women, but increasingly the next generation of men are dissatisfied with this and the pressure to shift expectations to allow a greater work life balance is gaining momentum.
There is now a once in a life time opportunity for us to re-evaluate our economic system, our work system, our political and social systems, which will be better for business, better for communities and better for society. Women must be part of this re-evaluation if it is to be successful and sustainable.
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