South Africa: Look to Women to Future-Proof the World

opinion

The Covid-19 pandemic, amplified by heightened global awareness around inequality, has thrust a new spotlight on the struggle for gender parity.

Globally, the majority of health workers - those in constant contact with Covid-19 patients - are women. Moreover, women are more likely than their male counterparts to engage in low-paying opportunities in the informal economy and are therefore more exposed to a loss of income during lockdown conditions.

As primary caregivers, many women have also had to take on additional responsibilities, like teaching, while schools and daycare services are closed. Studies also show that gender-based violence increases during periods of disaster and that internationally, women are generally in a weaker financial position than men.

As the economy gradually opens up and more people return to work in the radically changed environment imposed by Covid-19, it presents an opportune moment to reflect and ask: are we committed to real, sustainable action when it comes to corporate life? How do we ensure that the pandemic doesn't fuel an increase in gender-based inequality?

The corporate landscape

Numerous studies emphasise the benefits of gender diversity in the workplace.

Appointing women in top positions is empirically proven to be financially beneficial. A 2011 study...

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