A sobering finding from the World Economic Forum’s 2022 Global Gender Gap Report, states gender parity is beyond reach in our lifetime. According to the report, it will take 132 years for gender equality to become a reality and 151 years to close the economic participation and opportunity gender gap. Not a single country from the 146 examined has reached parity.
That’s the bad news. The good news? There’s still time to change all that. The 2022 findings have shaken me, but they have not deterred me. Nor should they deter you. Gender equality is a prerequisite not only for human development—but sustainable economic growth.
What do the findings mean for gender parity?
A rich body of data shows that without gender parity it is impossible to reduce poverty, attain food security, address climate impacts, or ensure a more peaceful and inclusive society.
Gender parity isn’t a “nice to have.” It’s also not just a perk of developed nations. It is an essential requirement for all countries to develop and prosper. To mitigate further backsliding, the structural barriers limiting women’s labor market participation, including their re-entry and retention in the workforce following the global COVID-19 pandemic, must be addressed.
Targeted policies which support women’s talent development in the industries of the future, and which accelerate their advancement to leadership and management roles, are needed.
The private sector has a critical role to play in addressing gender gaps in the workplace and in developing the pipeline of women for leadership positions. As a company founded by a barrier-breaking businesswoman almost 60 years ago, this is personal to Mary Kay.
How is Mary Kay leading the charge for gender equality?
In 2019, Mary Kay signed the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) and in 2021 the firm became a Commitment Maker to the Generation Equality Forum Action Coalitions to accelerate progress on gender equality to advance the Sustainable Development Goals.
Mary Kay is participating in the 2022-23 UN Global Compact Target Gender Equality accelerator programme to implement corporate targets for women’s representation and leadership in the firm and in our supply chain. Leading by example and reflecting our belief in increased women’s inclusion, Mary Kay is putting our values and commitments into action.
Exemplary women hiring
Women’s Representation and Leadership at Mary Kay (Data from August 2022):
- 62% of our Global Workforce are Women
- 50% of our Executive Team are Women
- 53% of our Vice Presidents and above are Women
- 57% of our Directors and above are Women
- 59% of our Managers and above are Women
- 70% of our Market Leaders are Women
- 60% of our Leaders in our Top 10 Markets are Women
Gender responsive procurement
Gender-Responsive Procurement & Supplier Diversity at Mary Kay (U.S. only Feb 2021):
- 66% of our Procurement Team are Women
- 12% of our Indirect Suppliers are Women, Minority or Veteran-Owned
- 5% of our Direct Suppliers are Women, Minority or Veteran-Owned
10 year sustainability strategy
Our 10-year Sustainability Strategy, titled Enriching Lives Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow, pursues a holistic approach to advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment with the following key commitments to achieve by 2030:
- Economically empower 5 million women worldwide
- Ensure access to education for 250,000 women and girls globally
- Provide over 10 million women worldwide with gender-based violence support services
- Develop a 10-year policy agenda to address women’s rights
Inspired by our mission as an entrepreneurship development company founded by a woman for women, we are committed to advancing women’s entrepreneurship and dismantling the barriers to women’s economic empowerment. We brought this vision to the United Nations in 2019 and, together with six UN agencies, we incepted the Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator (WEA) to create an enabling ecosystem for women entrepreneurs.
Sitting on the sidelines and waiting 132 years is simply not an option. The Sustainable Development Impact Meeting on “Advancing Gender Equality”, which takes place in New York this month, is an opportunity for leaders from the public and private sector to identify tools and strategies to close the gender gap. We owe it to future generations to mobilize our efforts to make the transformative changes that are so badly needed for women and girls.