âStill a long way for womenâs equalityâ
The 2020 edition of “The World’s Women: Trends and Statistics” revealed that women’s representation among Cabinet ministers has quadrupled over the last 25 years, and in 2020, an average of one in five ministers (22 percent) was a woman.
The STAR/Michael de Guzman, File
‘Still a long way for women’s equality’
Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) - October 26, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — While more of them are holding positions of power, women are far from having a voice equal to men as they are still subjected to various forms of violence and harmful practices in every region of the world, a new United Nations gender study revealed.

The 2020 edition of “The World’s Women: Trends and Statistics” revealed that women’s representation among Cabinet ministers has quadrupled over the last 25 years, and in 2020, an average of one in five ministers (22 percent) was a woman.

In the judiciary, 40 percent of judges were women in 2017, an increase over the proportion of 35 percent reported in 2008.

In terms of executive power, as of 2020, gender parity among Cabinet ministers had been reached or surpassed in only 14 countries; female ministers continued to be concentrated in ministries related to the family and social issues; and only 20 countries had a female head of state or government, an improvement over the 12 countries with female heads of state in 1995.

“Very few women get to the top position of power within government. As of 2020, the total number of countries with a female Head of State or Government was 20, a slight improvement over the 12 countries with female Heads of State in 1995: as of 2020, most countries headed by women were in Europe,” the report said.

In political life, while women’s representation in parliaments worldwide has more than doubled globally, it has yet to cross the 25 percent barrier of seats and although representation among cabinet ministers has quadrupled over the last 25 years, it remains at 22 percent, well below parity.

“Despite the steady increase in the proportion of parliamentary seats held by women, as of 2020, women held at least 50 percent of seats in only four national parliaments. Overall, few women held key positions in the higher echelons of parliamentary hierarchies, particularly at the top levels, as president or speaker of the house,” the report said.

“As of 2020, women held only 20.5 percent of high-level legislative positions, which is still too low a percentage to have an effective influence on policymaking.”

Gender quotas have also contributed to women’s access to local government positions, a necessary condition for ensuring the inclusion of women’s interests and perspectives in local decision-making.

Worldwide, women held 36 percent of elected seats in local deliberative bodies, 10 percentage points higher than their level of representation in national parliaments.

While women are at the center of efforts countering the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, too few women are yet in charge of leading response and recovery efforts.

Although higher representation of women in decision-making roles in the private sector has been proven to have a positive effect on corporate profitability, the report said the proportion of women in managerial positions remains low.

Globally, women held only 28 percent of managerial positions in 2019 – almost the same proportion as in 1995. The underrepresentation of women in management positions is even more visible at higher levels of decision-making.

In 2020, only 18 percent of enterprises surveyed had a female chief executive officer, and among Fortune 500 corporations only 7.4 percent, or 37 out of 500 chief executive officers, were women (compared with one out of 500 in 1998). – Paolo Romero

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