globalEDGE Blog - By Tag: workplace-equality

File under: India, Workplace Equality

There is no question that India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. It has a massive population that is eager to learn new skills and grow companies.  Still, there is one factor that may be holding India back from reaching its full potential: lack of women in the workforce. While India has made great strides in the past several years in this area, there is still a large discrepancy between men and women in the business world. According to a recent report India has one of the lowest percentages of women on Executive Boards and in leadership positions worldwide.

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Some time ago, a female finance manager in the USA said to me "It doesn't matter who you are or how smart and hard-working you are, the business world you will get to know as a woman is different than the actual business world." These are definitely not the most encouraging words, but it is no secret that to this day it is still much more difficult for women to advance in the business world. For females, the competition takes a different shape. No matter the difficulties however, women in the Middle East have found a solution in enterprenureal finanace.

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It’s hard to deny that the business climate for women is changing. Fifteen Fortune 500 companies are currently run by women, up from twelve last year.  Twenty-eight companies have women doing the top job in the Fortune 1000. Yet challenges still exist for women, namely in the international business world. Recently, Mrs. Evelyn Mungai of Nairobi, Kenya, an international business entrepreneur, visited Indianapolis to speak to the National Association of Women Business Owners about these challenges and how to overcome them. She is currently the owner of Evelyn’s School of Design, an internationally-acclaimed business that has been going strong for 33 years.

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A recent story by BusinessWeek describes the value of a country focusing on the education of its female populace.

Some interesting statistics:

- When a girl in the developing world receives seven or more years of education, she marries four years later, on average, and has 2.2 fewer children.

- An extra year in primary school statistically boosts girls' future wages by 10% to 20%, and every additional year a girl spends in secondary school lifts her income by 15% to 25%. The size of a country's economy is in no small part determined by the educational attainment and skill sets of its girls.

- Young women have a 90% probability of investing their earned income back into their families, while the likelihood of men doing the same is only 30% to 40%.

- A girl's school attainment is linked to her own health and well-being, as well as reduced death rates: For every additional year of schooling, a mother's mortality is significantly reduced, and the infant mortality rate of her children declines by 5% to 10%.

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Less than 15 years since the 1994 genocide, Rwanda is leading the world in its progessionist thinking about women.  This is particularly surprising becase this East African nation lies in a continent that has been dominated by the rule of men.  In Rwanda however, a country of 10 million with 55% women and 60% of the population below poverty line (based on gE statistics), the popular will is for women to drive the economy by filling ranks of Government.

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