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No. CCXLX; January 27, 2017

THIS ISSUE’S HIGHLIGHTS:
I. WOMEN SHOW GLOBAL STRENGTH THROUGH MARCHES WORLDWIDE
II. MAJORITY SEE SEXISM AS A PROBLEM, MEN LESS SO
III. COMPARING THE VALUE OF BOARD DIVERSITY AMONG MEN AND WOMEN
IV. SPOTLIGHT CONTINUES ON GENDER PAY BIAS


 I. WOMEN SHOW GLOBAL STRENGTH THROUGH MARCHES WORLDWIDE

Women’s March on Washington on Jan 21, 2017. (Photo courtesy of New York Times)

From Paris and Kenya to Sydney and Tbilisi, Georgia, women and men across the globe joined in solidarity with over 500,000 marchers in Washington and in every U.S. state last Saturday following the recent U.S. election. Projections estimate that over 3 million people gathered in 60 countries to show support for women’s rights and issues of global and national concerns related to women’s safety, health, and their families. All understood instinctively what Gloria Steinem meant when she said at the Washington march that “sometimes we must put our bodies where our beliefs are.”

What began as a Facebook post by a woman in Hawaii the day after Hillary Clinton’s loss in the November U.S. elections blossomed into a massive grassroots-driven protest uniting women of all ages, races, and faiths in support of maintaining reproductive, civil, and human rights. In many cities and towns, participation vastly exceeded projected numbers.

“It was so powerful to stand with and march alongside hundreds of thousands of women and families from across the U.S. and beyond at the march in Washington,” said President of the Global Summit of Women Irene Natividad. “Knowing that women in other countries were standing alongside their counterparts in Washington lifted everyone in the U.S. capital and made us realize yet again the force of women uniting globally.” Click here to see Facebook photos sent to GlobeWomen and send GlobeWomen yours as well.


II. MAJORITY SEE SEXISM AS A PROBLEM, MEN LESS SO

While the vast majority (93%) of adults in the U.S. say they believe in equality for women, 75% say sexism remains a problem, according to a major survey on gender, titled “The State of the Union on Gender Equality, Sexism and Women’s Rights,” conducted by the nonpartisan research firm PerryUndem and released on the eve of the Women’s March in Washington.

While there is broad consensus among both men and women that much work remains to be done in securing women’s rights, including equal pay and paid family leave, male Republicans who voted for Donald Trump are the least likely to see sexism, violence against women, unequal care-giving responsibilities, racism, access to abortion and birth control as contributors to inequality, the survey found.

In the first U.S. presidential election with a woman as a major party candidate, sexism played a role in Hillary Clinton’s defeat, according to the report.  In terms of the public’s perception, about one-third of adults say sexism prevented Clinton from winning the election, while 26% say they saw or heard friends or family members make sexist comments about Clinton during the campaign. (“Survey: Women will march in Washington, because it’s still a man’s world,” USA Today, Jan. 19, 2017)

It’s now clear to those in business and government who want to move the needle on women’s equity that men will have to be increasingly engaged as partners in the effort to create a mind shift among their peers so as to create a level playing field for women.  It is this imperative which has moved the 27-year-old Global Summit of Women to include male perspectives on gender diversity in its programing.  A male CEO Forum, featuring business leaders whose companies have made strides towards workplace equity, is now a standard component of the yearly program, as well as the inclusion of male presenters in other sessions.   The 2017 Global Summit of Women which takes place in Tokyo, Japan on May 11-13, 2017 addresses the issue of men and women interacting in the workplace in a session on “Building Collaborations with Men,” wherein male and female executives will share successful strategies for women and men engaging as peers in the corporate world.

For more information on the 2017 Global Summit of Women, please visit www.globewomen.org/globalsummit.


III. COMPARING THE VALUE OF BOARD DIVERSITY AMONG MEN AND WOMEN

Female board directors are much more likely to think board diversity enhances company performance and board effectiveness than male directors in the U.S., according to the PricewaterhouseCoopers 2016 Annual Board Directors Survey.  The yawning gap between the two genders’ perspectives is enormous — 89% of women directors say that board diversity improves company performance compared to only 24% of men, while 92% of women say board diversity improves board effectiveness compared to only 38% of men.

Among the U.S. directors in the survey, about 10% (97% of whom were male) say that the ideal number of women on a board is less than 20%.  Many male respondents still claim that there is a lack of a significant number of qualified female candidates for board appointments.  On the question of ‘supply’ of board-ready women, 64% of male directors agree that there is a sufficient number of qualified diverse candidates compared to 93% of women who believe there are enough qualified women board candidates.

The result of these attitudes among men who still dominate U.S. board rooms is the low percentage of women directors – 20% — in the country’s 500 largest companies, a rate of increase of only one percent yearly.  Other countries have adopted more proactive initiatives towards increasing gender diversity on corporate boards whether it’s the use of quotas now in place in 22 countries or the inclusion of gender diversity in corporate governance codes now adopted by 26 economies or stock exchanges making board diversity a listing requirement (Australia).  In all these cases, the numbers of women directors have increased dramatically and far more rapidly with many countries now surpassing the U.S. percentage. The 2017 Global Summit of Women taking place in Tokyo, Japan on May 11-13 will showcase successful strategies from various countries in the session on “Accelerating Women’s Access to Board Seats.” In addition, a first-ever comprehensive report covering women on the boards of 20 Asia Pacific countries will be released at the Summit on May 11th, providing critical baseline data for the region.

To see a list of 22 countries with legislative initiatives for women directors, click here


IV. SPOTLIGHT CONTINUES ON GENDER PAY BIAS

Lawsuits filed by the U.S. Department of Labor earlier this month against Oracle for paying men more than women and against JPMorgan for paying women less than men illustrate that the issue of gender pay bias continues to garner government attention.
The lawsuit against Oracle alleges that Oracle paid white male workers more, leading to pay discrimination against women, African Americans and Asian employees. The lawsuit comes as Silicon Valley companies have faced growing pressure to increase diversity across the tech industry. Several tech companies have begun to make public commitments to hire more women but progress has been slow. (“Oracle sued by labor department for paying white men more”, USA Today, Jan. 18, 2017)
In the case against JP Morgan, the lawsuit alleges that the company paid at least 93 women employed as lead application developers, project managers and technology directors less than comparable men employed in the same positions. (“JPMorgan paid dozens of women less than men: lawsuit” USA Today, Jan. 18, 2017)

The attendant negative publicity generated by these law suits follow upon the heels of recent studies and stories on the ‘hostile’ environment to women in the technology industry. As a consequence, many companies inside and outside the industry are now touting their own efforts to address the pay gap. One company which has received much attention for its own deliberately executed pay audits of its employees is Intel, whose efforts will also be showcased at the Tokyo Global Summit of Women, along with other solutions initiated in several countries and companies to diminish pay inequities at a plenary session on “Equalizing the Pay Gap” on May 13, 2017.


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