Gender Inequality in Leadership
In the global workforce, labour force participation rate for women aged 25-54 is only 63% out of a total of 94% for men( UN Women, 2018). Furthermore, in 40% of global economies, women’s early stage entrepreneurial activity is half or less than half of that of men’s with a statistical representation of only 5% of CEOs in the Fortune 500 list (UN Women, 2019). It’s evident that there’s a stark gender disbalance for women in key leadership roles for not just the entrepreneurial sector but also in other fields such as politics, STEM and other technical professions.
In patriarchal societies like Nepal, issues related to gender inequality and lack of equal employment opportunity is so common that most people tend to accept it as the norm.In Nepal, for every 100 employed males, there are only 59 employed females, with a statistical ratio of only 22% of working age women being employed within the country, with the exclusion of women who are involved in subsistence agriculture. These types of staggering figures are prominent in every sector of the country and leadership positions are no exception to the cause.
In the field of entrepreneurship and startups too, while some women entrepreneurs and CEOs have started coming up with their unique business proposition or initiatives in the Nepalese market, they are far outnumbered by male CEOs.To explore this, we need to get to the crux of the Nepalese social fabric, which primarily rests on patriarchy.As we prod deeper into the situation, a myriad of socio-cultural factors and manifestation of pre-existing collective psychology and social conditioning, comes up to the surface.This gender gap is further fuelled by an inter generational imbalance in power structure, barriers to economic and social freedom and lack of equal opportunity for women.
However, it is also crucial that the seed of leadership and assertiveness is actualized from within and not enforced on any individual, irrespective of their gender. While feminism is a concept that needs to be internalized, particularly in developing countries like Nepal; the progression from a patriarchal society to an inclusive one, takes time.
It would be a win/win situation for our entire society, when we can arrive at a point where women CEOs, women led businesses and startups are statistically parallel to male dominated interventions. Until then, we need to kickstart the process of change from within and we are desperately waiting for the day when both men and women can arrive at a point of equality,social justice and economic freedom.