8M Closing the gap
The month of March is a special one, given over to creating visibility for and awareness of gender equality, a struggle that has been ongoing since 1908, anchored in International Women's Day.
It was back in 1908 when 15,000 women marched through the streets of New York, demanding better working conditions and the right to vote, and only a few years later, in 1911, Working Women's Day was celebrated for the first time in many countries in Europe and the United States. Barely a week after this milestone, 129 women died in a fire at the Triangle ShirtWaister factory in New York, an event that shone a light on the appalling conditions in which these women had to work. Year after year, women's groups have gained more ground, until, in 1977, the UN recognized March 8 as International Women's Day.
But even after 100 years of activism, we still haven’t reached gender equality.
Surprise! Stereotyping is wrong!
There are still many gender stereotypes around, fostering misperceptions due to lack of information, and causing men and women to be pigeonholed under discriminatory labels which are very far from the truth. For example, did you know that...
- boys and girls have the same sports capabilities
- hair color does not determine the level of intelligence
- women are not more hysterical, complicated, or emotionally unstable than men. Neither are men more rational, brave or aggressive than women, and they can also be sensitive.
- mothers perform as well as fathers at work and are not any more or less necessary than men when it comes to raising children.
It’s certainly true that there are still several preconceived notions out there in many people’s imaginations.
So now what? How can we ensure an equitable future?
What about women and STEM studies?
According to UNESCO women and girls continue to be under-represented in STEM studies, meaning Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. In most countries in our region, women graduates make up less than 40% of the total number. In fact, the most critical fields are engineering and the construction industry, where they number less than 30%.
There are still yawning gaps in access to information. Although women represent nearly half the world population, an UN report says that there are 259 million more men than women with access to the Internet, meaning that only 63% of women as opposed to 69% of men enjoy internet access. Although the gap is slowly narrowing, it is still a significant issue in developing nations.
We must play our part in closing the gaps governing access to digital skills, supporting the entry of women and girls into STEM areas, and collaborate with the creation of technologies that meet the needs of women and girls, and end gender-based violence in all areas.
This month, from Techint Engineering and Construction, we want to honor those women who inspire us. Click here and tell us which stories have inspired you in your choice of career and work.
Together we can create an environment to allow all employees to prosper in a safe and equitable way, without being limited by their sexual identity.
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