GENDER PARITY TASKFORCES: AN OUTSTANDING INITIATIVE THAT ACTUALLY WORKS

04/25/2017 10:01 am ET

Fourteen years ago, the influential World Economic Forum (WEF) embraced one of today's most important challenges, such as helping to achieve gender equality. That´s how the the Global Gender Gap Report was created and soon this ranking became a globally validated tool to measure the gender gap between countries, as well as their evolution over time. A few years ago, they also decided to move from reflection to action, creating taskforces to achieve concrete progress in different countries, going beyond diagnosis. Fighting gender inequalities is now an urgent imperative: women are getting the best education ever, but unfortunately this does not translate into substantive improvements in the kind of jobs they get, in getting equal pay and in the amount of women at the top of companies. The WEF began this project in countries with certain advantages, but also with clear room for improvement. Turkey, Korea, Japan and Mexico launched the WEF's Gender Parity Initiatives and, establishing that many of its learning and achievements can be applied in other countries, they also launched a taskforce it in Chile a few months ago, and recently in Argentina. Under a shared leadership with the International Development Bank, and the support of ministers (Finance and Labor), members of the business sector and civil society - and the executive secretariat of ComunidadMujer - their goals are high: to improve gender gap indicators within three years. Not a small task, thinking that Chile ranks 70 today in 144 countries in a gender gap, a position that falls to place 119 if we measure participation and economic opportunities. The start in our country has been auspicious, especially for establishing a solid spirit of public-private collaboration. So far, more than 40 important chilean companies have become part of the Initiative. Diverse technical teams are working hard and side by side to remove Chile from the place of the worst students in this area. And it´s because fighting injustices against women is a challenge for all. Not only for those who live under gender discrimination, but especially for women and men who have not had to suffer them, and therefore live in a world of privileges. That women earn equally for the same work, that they can develop professionally and personally freely and without limits, that they can reach as far as they want in their careers, is a matter not only of enormous economic convenience for the country. It is an issue of social justice, which should therefore become a cross-cutting and shared goal. Initiatives that integrate different actors, such as the WEF's Gender Parity Taskforces, are a substantial advance in this regard.

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