Progress toward attaining gender equality delayed further

·3 min read

ACHIEVING gender equality could be delayed by 51 years as women were found to be more heavily impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, a report produced by W20 in collaboration with Accenture Research and Quilt.AI showed.

Findings of the survey confirmed that the pandemic has had a negative impact on most people – but women have consistently been hit harder across countries, age groups and lifestyle indicators.

Women have seen their earnings decline almost two-thirds more sharply than men, dropping by 16.5 percent on average since the pandemic began, compared with the 10.1 percent drop for men.

Five percent of the women respondents when the pandemic struck are now unemployed, higher compared to men with just 2.8 percent.

The study also revealed that mothers were found to be spending an additional one hour and 20 minutes per day on childcare — which is an increase of 29 percent. The proportion of women with easy access to healthcare, including maternal and reproductive services, has dropped by more than half — from 69 percent pre-pandemic to just 32 percent.

Moreover, half of the surveyed women said levels of tension and stress in their household are high, up from just 15 percent pre-pandemic.

The online analytics came from 7,000 adult respondents from Brazil, India, Japan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, United Kingdom and the United States of America.

While the Covid-19 pandemic has delayed further the goal of attaining gender equality, efforts in achieving this remain one of the thrusts of global companies.

“Our commitment to accelerating equality for all employees starts at the top. Inclusion and diversity are key areas that we focus on and that makes Accenture a great place to work. In the Philippines, we are focusing our efforts to be the most inclusive and diverse employer in the information technology and business process management industry by providing a workplace where Accenture employees, regardless of gender, ethnicity, age or religion can thrive professionally as well as achieve personal growth,” said Jenny Hans, inclusion and diversity lead of Accenture in the Philippines in a statement.

Equality dialogue

In celebration of the International Women’s Day 2021, Accenture organized a virtual Equality Dialogue to shed light on how it can help accelerate the gender equality journey. It invited women who were experts in their chosen fields.

Asked about what drives them in their initiatives to elevate gender equality in the workplace, Singapore-based Cebuano doctor Elisse Nicole Catalan, who is the director of Public Health, SimplyShare Foundation Cebu and Southeast Asia Operations division manager at Parkway Group Healthcare, Singapore for Woman in Healthcare, said it comes from hoping for things to change.

“One of the great things that changed in this Covid-19 pandemic is that you need collective action. You cannot be by yourself and do things on your own and once you empower, acknowledge, give recognition and you connect with people, that’s a good way to inspire and motivate them,” she said.

Boots Garcia, chairperson of the Philippine Women’s Economics Network and co-chairperson of the Philippine Business Coalition for Women Empowerment, said promoting diversity, inclusion and gender equality drives her.

“I feel like it is now my responsibility to do something for women to be able to achieve even better,” she said.

Male ally George Son Keng Po, the managing director of Accenture Technology Centers in the Philippines, said the Covid-19 pandemic is a total system reboot.

“This is a huge opportunity in front of us to redefine what works. In many ways, this pandemic accelerated the things that are happening right now in terms of how we should be connecting, how we should be doing things differently. Even though the statistics show that we are 51 years behind, I think there’s an opportunity to be 51 years advanced,” he said. (JOB)