Leadership and the workforce: Why we still need Women’s Day

(Riddhi Jani)

Picture this: it’s the year 2045. You have amazing friends and family. You’ve worked on yourself and have accepted the world as it is. You’ve also recently started working your dream job. 

Here’s the issue: when you speak with your male co-workers, you realize you’ve been significantly underpaid for the same workload. This is why something such as Women’s Day is so fundamental. 

Women’s Day is a worldwide celebration of the achievements women have made in social, economic, and political sectors. It’s a day to bring the issue of gender equality to the forefront and lobby for equal pay, as well as challenging gender gaps and social norms.

It’s a time for women to rise, advocate for change, and support female-identifying run charities and businesses. 

In the past decade, women have held more and more leadership roles. They’ve increased their presence in the media, and all around, it seems like modern women are winning. Research, however, paints a different story. 

A 2020 report conducted by the United Nations Development Program found that about “50 per cent of people think men make better political leaders, and about 40 per cent of people think men make better business executives.” 

The workplace is no different. According to the Canadian Women’s Foundation, even though 82 per cent of aged 25 to 54 women make up the workforce, there is still a huge disparity and underrepresentation of women in leadership roles. 

Gender stereotypes and discrimination still exist at a high rate. It’s an invisible barrier that must be addressed to move towards gender equality. To make matters worse, the pandemic, along with other globally felt events, have significantly slowed the progress to gender equality. 

The Global Gender Gap report from 2021 found that closing the global gender gap has increased from 99.5 years in 2020, to 135.6 years in 2021. At this rate, we will not experience gender equality in our lifetime. 

Now imagine you’re a BIPOC woman. Not only are you facing gender inequality, you’re also facing racial bias and discrimination. 

In 2021, a study conducted by The Prosperity Project showed that in corporate Canada, 89 per cent of organizations have no Black women on track for leadership roles, and 91 cent have zero Indigenous women in similar positions.  

And, according to a 2012 study conducted by Ashleigh Rosette, men and white women are seen as typical leaders, leading to a “double jeopardy” effect where BIPOC women are less likely to receive a leadership role because they do not resemble a typical leader, even if they have the right credentials. Rosette also found that BIPOC women in leadership positions are more harshly judged. 

In a time where it seems we are constantly surrounded by bias, discrimination, and inequality, it is important now more than ever to take the time to celebrate the achievements of women, especially those in the BIPOC community. 

Gender injustices seep into every corner of the world, and it’s time to do something about it. Shedding light on the obstacles and difficulties women go through, day in and day out, is mandatory to bridge the gap for BIPOC women everywhere. 

Pushing forward in the fight for gender equality starts at home and within the community. Pass the mic to those that have something to say. Encourage diversity. Encourage women. Be an ally.   

So, in case you’re still wondering: Yes. Celebrating Women’s Day in 2022 is still a necessity. 

About the Author

By Kiana Beharry


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