Odeyemi Iyanu Victoria, First Place Winner of Essay Competition in Celebration of International Women’s Day.

Odeyemi Iyanu Victoria, First Place Winner of Essay Competition in Celebration of International Women’s Day.

GENDER EQUALITY IN TECH FROM A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE By Odeyemi Iyanu Victoria

What is Gender equality?
Gender equality is the state of equal ease of access to resources, including economic participation and decision-making, and the state of valuing different behaviors, aspirations and needs equally, regardless of gender.

Globally, 750 million women and girls were married before the age of 18 and at least 200 million women and girls in 30 countries have undergone FGM (female gender mutilation).In some countries, husbands can legally prevent their wives from working, daughters and sons do not have equal inheritance rights. There is noactive law protecting women from domestic violence. While women have made important inroads into political office across the world, their representation in national parliaments at 23.7 percent is still far from parity.

Women continue to be underrepresented at all levels of political leadership, and 1 in 5 women and girls between the ages of 15 and 49 report experiencing physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner within a 12-month period.

The gender pay gap continues to be a regular staple of the news agenda .However, research has shown that there are reasons why the gender pay gap exists.
1) Caring responsibilities and part-time roles are shared unequally: Here, the argument is that women ‘choose’ to care for children, so they naturally end up in part-time jobs, below their skill levels, and with fewer progression opportunities.
SOLUTION: CREATE QUALITY FLEXIBLE JOBS THAT ALLOW WOMEN AND MEN TO BALANCE AMBITION WITH CARING RESPONSIBILITIES
2) There are more men in senior roles than women: At the heart of the problem is an assumption that senior jobs ‘naturally’ require long hours and constantavailability, and so cannot be done flexibly or part-time. This is largely due to the 1950s pattern of men going out to work and women being at home to support them enabling men to focus on work to the exclusion of everything else in life. And it has been exacerbated in many sectors by globalization and always-on technology, which have extended the working day to 10 or 12 hours.
SOLUTION: DESIGN SENIOR ROLES TO WORK FOR ALL.

There are also other barriers keeping women from accessing the top management level, which basically reflect some general psychological differences between the two genders .As women are more emotionally driven than men, they tend not to act in an authoritarian manner, and in many cases, it is hard for them to use imperatives and to show disapproval, when it is the case.
Gender role expectations may have an impact on underachievement and creativity.”Just when women are most likely to need sponsorship as they shoot for the highest-level jobs, they may be least likely to get it. They’re still viewed as “risky” appointments” .Gender perceptions may influence women’s ascent to senior positions as women are perceived as worse scientific leaders and are stereotyped as not possessing the innate talent that is required in some fields .On average, letters for men are 16% longer than letters for women and letters for women are 2.5x as likely to make a minimal assurance (‘she can do the job’) rather than a ringing endorsement (‘she is the best for the job’).

How then do we avoid gender bias in view of recommendation??
-Keep it professional.
-Be careful raising doubt.
-Stay away from stereotypes.
-Emphasize accomplishments.
-Make research not based on assumption.

A common example of implicit bias is favoring or being more receptive to familiar-sounding names than those from other cultural groups. Implicit bias doesn’t mean that inclusivity is not one of our values. It means that we are not aware of how our own implicit bias can impact our actions and decisions.
In conclusion I’d say: Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation or a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world.

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