3 Gender Equity Predictions for 2019
With the news of Amazon’s failed automated hiring tool followed by staged Google walkouts to protest the company’s treatment of women, reaching gender equity in the workplace has been a slow and challenging progression. In fact, The World Economic Forum’s annual Gender Gap Report found that it’s expected to take another 202 years to achieve gender parity in economic empowerment.
However, as women continue to break barriers and more businesses, organizations and leaders become more committed to achieving gender equity, there are some bright spots to look forward to in 2019.
1. Equal Pay Legislation Will Take Center Stage in State Legislatures.
In addition to the historic number of women elected to Congress last November, this year will also bring a wave of Equal Pay legislation at the state level on the heels of the blue wave in the state legislatures. Democrats have full control in 14 states, meaning they inhabit the state’s governor’s office and are the majority in both chambers of the legislature. The swell of women in red, blue and purple states is bringing fresh perspectives to policies..
While most attention typically goes to legislation at the federal level, legislation in at least four states have the potential to have a swift and important effect on state equal pay laws. Notably, Maine, Michigan, New Mexico, and Kansas now can pass executive orders or provide the political leadership push needed to change and strengthen equal pay laws.
These laws may go beyond patching the holes in the federal equal pay law and could instead lead to the adoption of true equal pay laws, such as the equal pay law in place in Iceland, paving the way for progress at the federal level.
2. Google Walkout Will Be the Nex-Gen for the #MeToo Movement.
More than a year ago, the New York Times published it’s shattering Harvey Weinstein report, opening the doors to the overdue and much-needed #MeToo movement. However, progress since then often seems to fall two steps back for every step forward. A study by The Economist found that confessions and firings as a result of the movement have actually made Americans more skeptical about sexual harassment. Recent conversations from the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland highlighted concerns that mentoring women, especially one-on-one, in the era of #MeToo felt too risky.
But the roadmap for gender equality must forge on without a post-#MeToo paralysis. As the 476 of the Fortune 500 CEO seats, men play a critical role in the gender equity narrative and adding their stories to the movement. This year we can expect the conversation to evolve from a campaign of support to a campaign for action.
The Google Walkout movement is an excellent example of how employees will continue to press companies to make actual change for gender and race equity. Demands for equity in opportunity and pay will take center stage, as well as ending binding arbitration.
Adding more imperative to the fold, as the labor shortage continues and the U.S. moves toward becoming a minority majority nation, companies will have to take action or risk devaluation as a result of lack of skilled talent.
3. The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) will be ratified by the 38th and final state.
Before continuing our look forward to what will happening in 2019, a quick historical look back: in 1972 Congress approved the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) with a seven-year deadline for three-quarters of the states to ratify it. The deadline was later extended to 1982 but that deadline passed with only 35 of the 38 states needed.
While many states have passed legislation that echoes the intent of the original ERA, there is not a broad, inclusive protection that would cover all United States citizens on the basis of sex. Despite the expired deadline for passing the state-level ratification, the #MeToo movement and the increase of women in elected office have given new life to the call for equal rights and on May 31, 2018, Illinois became the 37th state to ratify the ERA, following Nevada as 36th in 2017.
Supporters say that precedent passed by later amendments, which did not have ratification expirations, show that Congress did not have to impose a deadline on the ERA. It’s anticipated that after the 38th state passes, there are several ways the amendment can be passed into law.
In 2019, it’s expected that Virginia will be the final state to ratify, ensuring both genders have equal access to their Constitutional rights.
2019 promises to be a year of progress toward gender equity, and it is important to remember that achieving gender equity isn’t a women’s issue. It’s about equity for all.
Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.
Katica Roy is an ambassador for gender equity in the workplace and beyond. She is the CEO and founder of Denver-based Pipeline, an award-winning SaaS platform that leverages artificial intelligence to drive economic gains through closing the gender equity gap. Synopsis As CEO and founder of Denver-based Pipeline, Katica enables businesses to realize capital and cultural improvements in the workplace. An award-winning business leader with over two decades of experience in technology, healthcare and financial services, Katica... Continue Reading
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