What’s going on?
It’s the same story that we’ve heard for decades. Women are underrepresented. We know, we’ve heard it before, images of Rosie the Riveter are flashing in your head. Why does gender equality matter?
Despite the fact that women make up over fifty percent of the global population, they are underrepresented in governments, civil activities, and domestic decision making. While this unfortunate reality is clearly detrimental to individual females looking to make progress in their societies; it is equally harmful to society at large. When women are empowered, the nation as a whole reaps the benefits.
Want to know more?
Here’s a little more food for thought. Both developing and established nations need to focus on female education. This targeted focus is critical because as female education grows, the higher levels of valuable contributions this group will be able to make within society correspondingly increase.
Additionally, it is important to lower the salary gap between men and women. By allowing women to earn to their full potential, they have more incentive to work productively and strive for new opportunities. Finally, children should be taught practices of equality and dual promotion of both sexes instead of reproducing old habits of inequality, younger populations practice what is modeled for them. Society cannot expect new generations to develop an equal perception of the genders and implement those practices if it is not modeled for them in some fashion.
Where are the facts?
The World Bank’s World Development Report says gender equality is critical for the fiscal growth and social progression of a society. Growing the gender equality of a society has economic benefits that lead to heightened productivity. Additionally, structural development hinges on the equal participation of women.
In case you are a numbers person, gender equality grows efficiency in several tangible ways. Since women comprise about 40 percent of the world’s work force and over 50 percent of university enrollments, societal productivity will expand exponentially if these dedicated women’s aptitudes are nurtured and supported. Additionally, women have a strong track record of promoting honest operations, particularly in government. In nations where women are given opportunity for leadership a lower level of societal corruption exists. From a societal health stand point women are also committed to local policy that targets disadvantaged groups, giving more voice other populations needing attention.
What should we do?
Better than just talking about the problem, we have a solution.
The movement to help women can start from both the top, with the government, and from the bottom, with a groundswell of support for those seeking to move forward and contribute positively to society. From a governmental perspective, focused policies have a strong impact. By slowly integrating gender equality into current policies, governments will begin to see a global change towards improved economic development and societal progression.
Why are we involved?
We care and see an opportunity to make a difference. At The Mel and Bren Simon Foundation, we believe that by incorporating issues of gender equality into our policy decisions and social practices, we can allow our global communities to grow and secure the benefits available when a nation’s resources are fully utilized. When women are empowered, the country reaps the benefits.
To support the goal of empowering women and achieve global benefits for society, The Mel and Bren Simon Foundation has provided the National Democratic Institute (NDI) with funding to support global organizations in over 70 countries that help women become involved and succeed in politics. Specifically, our funding goes to support the Madeleine K. Albright grant in addition to other initiatives.
NDI helps women acquire the tools necessary to participate successfully in all aspects of the political process. NDI programming ranges from challenging environments on the cusp of democracy to flourishing societies where women engage in legislatures, traditional political parties, and civil society leaders. All programming creates an environment where women can advocate on matters of policy, run for political office, be elected, govern effectively, and participate meaningfully in every facet of civic and political life.
The Mel and Bren Simon Foundation, in coordination with NDI, is working to improve the quality of life for women, establish equal gender opportunities, and foster an environment where women can contribute and participate in all aspects of life.
“Every country deserves to have the best possible leader and that means that women have to be given a chance to compete. If they’re never allowed to compete in the electoral process then the countries are really robbing themselves of a great deal of talent.” – Madeleine K. Albright, NDI Chairman
World development report: https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/4391
International monetary fund: http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/fandd/2012/03/revenga.htm
2011 UN General Assembly resolution: http://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/leadership-and-political-participation#sthash.JdjND10d.dpuf