Women are still not equal to men yet

Women outnumber men and are better qualified, yet they remain poorer and continue to play a subordinate role in the economy. Why is that ?

Women represent more than half of humanity (51% in the EU). They are globally more qualified than men (58% of graduates in the EU). They are “the market” (and not a “niche” as marketing people say) – indeed, 80% of consumer goods are purchased by women. The massive arrival of women on the labour market since the 1960s has been the main factor of economic growth. The more gender-balanced a company’s management, the stronger its performance. So why are there still so few women in decision-making positions in business and in the economy in general?

If women are on average better qualified than men, they are poorer, especially when they become mothers. Women work fewer paid hours but have less free time than men and sleep less. They spend an average of 17 hours more than their partners each week on domestic tasks. They are twice as likely as men to have precarious jobs. As soon as a profession becomes more female, it loses its prestige and the salaries drop. Women represent less than 5% of CEOs of large companies and less than 15% of management committees. They are also the greatest untapped potential in terms of entrepreneurship, representing only 1/3 of the self-employed. All these figures are valid for the EU (sources EIGE and EESC).

Being a woman is not simply about being of a certain sex, it’s about being classified in society in a certain way.” Simone de Beauvoir

In order to create a truly inclusive society and economy, it is necessary to understand that women are simply not men. Several millenniums of male domination cannot be erased quickly and without a strong commitment. For the first time in the history of humanity and in our (small) part of the world, women have the same rights as men. But this doesn’t mean they are their equals yet!

94% of women have already been subject to sexist behaviours in the workplace and 9% have been physically assaulted at work. These are the results of our JUMP survey “Where do we stand on sexism” (3.294 respondents, 2016). In France, according to “Great place to work”, sexist behaviour is at the top of the list of obstacles to women’s careers (60%), followed by family life/maternity (55%), the company culture (40%), then the industry culture (28%). The absence of a culture of inclusion has a direct impact on employee wellbeing at work and therefore on the company’s performance.

“Equality is like driving a car up the hill. You have to keep your foot on the accelerator otherwise you’ll roll back down the hill really quickly.” – Maria Adamson, Middlesex University Business School