Equal opportunity is essential to progress

Published March 14, 2022, 5:51 AM

by Vince Socco

The world recently commemorated International Women’s Day. I, too, paid tribute to all the wonderful women in my life. They truly deserve to be honored.

Based on a United Nations World Population study, it was recently reported that as of 2021, there are 3.97 billion males versus 3.905 billion females in the world.(I am assuming that this statistic refers to the gender registered at the time of birth.) That means men comprise 50.42% of the world population while women account for 49.58%. An interesting insight is that a majority of countries actually report a higher number of females in their population. However, China and India – the two most populous countries in the world – have a higher number of men, thus skewing the world sex ratio. If both China and India are excluded, there are more women than men in the rest of the world.

Full disclosure, I am an advocate of equal opportunity, regardless of faith, nationality, social status or gender. Growing up, I was fortunate not to have had walls surround me that would have narrowed my appreciation of the beauty of diversity. My family was a very open and accepting one (it helped that I lived with three educators in our home). My schooling also helped frame my open-mindedness to a broad spectrum of thought and lifestyles. And, my professional experience introduced me to such a diverse range of customers while expanding my engagement with the world through our global operations and collaborations.

The presence, role and contribution of women cannot be understated. They are a force to contend with and I am certain that the world is a better place because of them. In my 40 years of working, women have really been significant contributors – individually and collectively. Even in my earliest years as a member of the workforce, there were a good number of women in management roles and positions of authority. For me, it was just a reality of the time; it never struck me as something odd or that I needed to ponder about.

Women bring a point of view to the table. I hesitate to call it a “different” view; it just is “their” own view of things. In a global village, it is essential that we keep an open mind, inviting a diverse range of opinions and thoughts to discussions. It strengthens the outcome and, more importantly, it develops our sense of respect, fairness, broad-mindedness and creativity. One of the things that I try to guard against is to create a culture or thought-process that is more homogeneous than it is diverse. I believe that the more narrowly defined the participants in a problem discourse are, the more narrow, too, are the potential solution sets that can be formulated. This limits our ability to find a better way forward.

To be sure, there is much that can – and should – be done to expand the opportunities for women to contribute to society and the economy. For example, there is room to enhance gender diversity in the labor force as well as in management and in boardrooms. In the Philippines, females represent 49.9% of the population. However, if we look at the constitution of the workforce, we find that only 39.1% is comprised by women.

It is true that changes are likely needed in corporate culture, policies and even laws to level the playing field, so to speak. We need to work together as a society to make this happen. I contend that no one gender has a monopoly of good ideas, good work and good intentions. It is certainly to our best shared interests that we come together with no boundaries. Nothing and no one can get in the way of a movement whose time has come or, for some, is long overdue.

Let us celebrate the women of the world, yes. Let us make the celebration more meaningful, though, by creating a world of equal opportunity.

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