#EqualityThruEconomics this International Women’s Day: A call to action
Much has changed since the first International Women’s Day in 1911. But even with this year’s celebration coinciding with the one hundred year anniversary of women’s right to vote in the United States, there remains much to be done.
The theme for the March 8, 2020 IWD is #EachforEqual. Critically, organizers have called out that equality is not a women’s issue but rather a business issue, one that allows all communities and countries to thrive.
While that’s true, this theme does a disservice to women. It implies that women should wait on businesses, communities, and leaders to realize that granting equality is in their best interests and then making it so.
A better theme would be #EqualityThruEconomics. The only way that women will enjoy long lasting equality in society is by earning equal economic power. And that’s not something that is conferred to women, it is something that women must earn.
The changing nature of work has created a once-in-a-generation opportunity to do just that.
Here in the U.S., the tight labor market has made it easier than ever for women to bust out of pink-collar jobs and enter new, higher earning career tracks. A business.org study found that nationwide tech jobs average 66% higher than other careers.
Even more compelling, the IT industry is forecast to have three million unfilled jobs by 2026. And when you consider that nearly every company is now a tech company, the truth is that millions more tech-adjacent jobs are waiting to be filled in the coming years. There simply are not enough males — the stereotypical IT hire — to go around for all these jobs.
This trend is playing out on a global scale with these openings leading to higher paying jobs that confer flexibility, upward mobility, and financial stability. While market conditions have created this opportunity, women must now step into the breach and earn their way into equality.
Numbers show that the change is beginning to happen. Women now make up a slight majority in the workforce for the first time in decades. More women than men earned college degrees this past year. And more women earned a computer science degree than ever before.
But it’s not enough. Together, we must accept the challenge to fulfill this unique promise and potential. Every woman must use the occasion of International Women’s Day not just to celebrate but to serve. This is doubly critical for those that have already carved out careers in the tech sector.
Whether acting as a mentor to someone, hosting a tech-related class or seminar for young girls, donating to an organization that expands technology instruction for women, or being purposeful about your own career advancement — it is incumbent upon us all to do more this year to grow our beachhead into lasting economic empowerment that leads to a new normal.