gender equality

The Power of Private-Public Partnerships: Deconstructing Gender Bias for Resilient Communities

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Multiple events such as UNGA, Women’s Funding Network conference, Concordia Summit, Global Goals for Sustainable Development, Bill & Melinda Gates Goalkeepers, have mobilized determined leaders in dialogues about ideas and commitments to investing in the world’s poor.  

Despite the current administration, challenging global economy and unprecedented global disasters, voices are amplified about gender equality for all.   

However, the gap between making women and men equal partners in the economy and society remains significant. In fact, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, economic gender equality is predicated not be achieved for another 170 years. 

Equal access is fundamental to society stability, ensuring resilient communities for the long-term.

Yet, the world’s political, cultural, humanitarian and environmental issues continue to be disrupted by the complexities of non-equal access and discrimination.

A recap of the realities we face:

  • Wage Gap: Women generally earn 79 cents for every dollar men earn
  • Women of Color: Occupy only 11.9 percent of managerial and professional positions
  • Executive Positions: Women hold 29/5.8% of CEO positions at S&P 500 companies
  • Poverty: In the U.S. in 2016, more than one in eight women, more than 16.9 million, lived in poverty.  14.5 million poor children, more than half, live in families headed by women
  • Human Trafficking: At least 21 million adults and children are bought and sold worldwide into commercial sexual servitude, forced labor and bonded labor.  Around $32 billion profits are generated

Oxford Dictionary’s Definition of Gender Equality = The state in which access to rights or opportunities is unaffected by gender’

Gender and racial inequality is not only a pressing moral issue, it is also a critical economic challenge.   

Women = 50 percent of the population: 

Improving the livelihoods of women and girls represents the single biggest opportunity for cultural, human and economic development.

According to a new McKinsey Global Institute report, $12 trillion could be added to global GDP by 2025 by advancing women’s equality. In addition, women are the world’s most powerful consumers controlling 65% of consumer spending.

Outdated norms and gender stereotypes are impeding achieving the systemic change required to better integrate women into society, holding back the global economic growth that will come from increased gender equality and women’s empowerment.

What is fundamental to success is deconstructing the roots of gender bias early.  Mitigating negative perceptions about both men and women in leadership and role in communities represents a powerful ripple effect, benefitting families, communities, workplaces and economies at large.

Now more than ever before, women around the world are poised to make significant progress but are faced with several issues which need to be addressed:

  • Lack of economic security
  • Domestic violence
  • Lack of access to education and healthcare

To be sure, if women do not achieve their full economic potential, the global economy will continue to suffer. Investing in women and girls, creates more stable families and communities.

A Powerful Solution - Private-public partnerships:

The U.S. devotes less than 1% of its annual budget to foreign aid with Trump recommending a 30% cut to the State Department’s budget including funding for USAID’s critical health programs.

 While U.S. foreign-aid programs have helped women and children fight disease and poverty, have access to basic needs, the public and private sectors are further poised to mobilize and action programs that close gender gaps in the workplace and communities at large.

Support of SDG goal 5, achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. Includes raising the bar on sector expertise and programs that enable economic security, mitigate domestic violence, ensure access to education and health. 

For example, an Intel analysis states that making the Internet accessible to 600 million women and girls (40 percent from developing countries) could generate an estimated $13-18 billion in annual GDP across 144 developing nations.

A diverse range of for-profit and nonprofit organizations from multiple sectors are on the front lines of scaling up programs, partners and stated impacts for women and girls. Organizations of note include Coca-Cola’s 5X20, GAP P.A.C.E, Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan, the Akola Project and The Women’s Funding Network.

The power of private-public partnerships can take these complex problems and distill them down into concrete concepts, implementable programs that have measurable impact and long-term sustainability.

Shared value add dialogues, co-creation and design of programs at the local and global level with businesses, academia, nonprofits will continue to be essential for systemic change and improving livelihoods of women and girls.

Stay the Course: Transformative Change:

When people are inflicted by disasters and trapped in the cycle of poverty, ‘We the People’ are all at risk both at a local and global level.

Investing in the world’s poor remains a priority along with ensuring economic security and mitigating violence among women and girls.  This requires a renewed focus on scalable economic development and capacity building, opportunities for job training and employment for underserved populations, consistent access to basic needs and investments in children’s education.

By Samantha Taylor, President of Reputation Dynamics.

Sources:

  • McKinsey Report - http://www.mckinsey.com/global-themes/employment-and-growth/how-advancing-womens-equality-can-add-12-trillion-to-global-growth
  • Partner Spotlight: The Women’s Funding Network is the largest network of foundations devoted to women and girls. We empower over 100 foundations, spanning 6 continents, to incubate, lead programs, and take collective action to solve complex social and economic issues - www.womenfundingnetwork.org

About Reputation Dynamics: Since 2005, Reputation Dynamics (RD) has been committed to addressing social, environmental and human justice issues. RD mobilizes corporations, NGOs/civil society and academia to devise share-valued approaches for community development and improvement of livelihoods.

Please contact me for a dialogue about creating successful private-public partnerships - sam@reputation-dynamics.com