Throughout history, women have been subject to inequality when it comes to their careers, freedoms, rights, and choices. With feminist movements in action around the world, one questions how far society has come in combatting gender inequality.
Some people advocate that we have come far in progressing the position of women in society. Rachel Pashley, the Global Planning Director of the global marketing agency J. Walter Thompson, echoes this view. She confidently asserts how “there’s never been a better time to be a woman” – at least according to results from her company’s latest research. She highlights how we should now “be hearing” the revolution for women. For example, the company’s Women’s Index research shows that 73% of women globally said they made the majority of financial decisions in the household, while companies run by women are more profitable. Interestingly, Pashley also touches upon the issue of femininity and states how 1 in every 2 women feel they can use their attractiveness and femininity as a means of power and influence. Finally, Pashley does acknowledge that there are still gender disparities when it comes to women’s positions on boards, in the political corridors of power, the film industry and even popular culture does lag behind what it should. There does seem to be higher feelings of women empowerment from the attitudes of women, but perhaps there still needs to be more real change when it comes to women in the workplace, especially in senior positions.
Despite elements of positivity demonstrated by Pashley, Katie Allen from The Guardian stresses upon how the gender pay gap has still not equalised. Even after more than three decades after the Equal Pay Act was written, the pay gap stands at about 19%. A new marketing agency, Brainlabs, is trying to tackle this huge issue for women. The agency makes employers raise the pay for women “and then works backwards to make sure individuals’ pay represents value for money.” The company refers to this levelling off as a “pay gap tax”. Evidently there is a problem with the gender pay gap, but at the same time, one needs to ensure that work pursued from agencies such as Brainlabs are actually workable, in the sense that there is a value for money element to this levelling off. Nevertheless, giving women more equal pay has symbolic value on the aggregate, as women should have equal pay to men.
It is optimistic to see how women around the world are proud of the feminist revolution and that there is acknowledgement that more women in the workplace are profitable. However, it is worrying that the gender pay gap is still holding strongly and that women are still not gaining enough senior positions in the workplace. Perhaps another important aspect of the issue of gender inequality in the world today is the variation in levels of progression in different countries in the world, and that perhaps in some countries there has actually been a digression for women’s rights and equality.