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Closing the Global Gender Gap Requires CEOs to Adopt a Moonshot Mindset

5 minute read
Zalis is a pioneer for online research, movement leader, and champion of gender equality. She is an internationally renowned entrepreneur, speaker, mentor, and CEO of The Female Quotient.

What will the world look like in 132 years?

When you hear that question, you probably wonder a few things: who your great-great-grandchildren will be, how our climate has weathered the century, and maybe even if the metaverse will be the basis of all connection.

Do you imagine a world where everyone—regardless of gender—earns the same?

Research shows that based on our current trajectory, we will not see gender parity until 2154—132 years from now. As the pandemic has erased any progress made to date, it is critical to focus our attention and action on achieving equality during this time of rebuilding and transformation around the world.

“As crises are compounding, women’s workforce outcomes are suffering and the risk of global gender parity backsliding further intensifies,” states the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report of 2022. The Global Gender Report, established in 2006, annually assesses 146 economies.

We have certainly faced extraordinary challenges over the past few years. But it is unacceptable that, at the same time, we have allowed gender parity to become a secondary priority. Delaying this solution until 2154 is outrageous. We can achieve this in five years. It’s not that difficult, all it takes is choice.

It’s clear we need a new approach. With so much time and research being devoted to defining the issues, we need to direct more energy to innovating solutions, so more leaders feel passionate about the potential of closing this gap and leaving a legacy in their lifetime.

We’ve overcome unsolvable challenges before. When disease struck, we created a COVID-19 vaccine in less than a year. When innovation presented itself, we created autonomous vehicles. When presented with seemingly insurmountable obstacles, dedication to a solution and prioritization have seen us through.

In the late 1960s, the world’s leading countries decided to prioritize a challenge: landing on the Moon. Everyone wanted to be the first country to see their boots hit the moondust, and we were no exception. When we were presented with the race to the moon, we looked beyond the difficulties awaiting us and saw an opportunity to succeed. We adopted a Moonshot Mindset. U.S. President John F. Kennedy famously stated, “We choose to go to the Moon.” This simple profound statement inspired the entire country to support the cause. In the face of an overwhelming challenge, Kennedy chose (key word) to pursue the mission, and leveraged his power to secure Congressional support and achieve this goal.

He’s also famous for saying, “If not now, when? If not us, who?”

With a few sentences and a daring choice, Kennedy changed our entire perspective on setting goals. Today, this is the exact mindset we need to help turn another seemingly impossible mission—closing the gender gap—into a glittery, incredible imperative.

As global leaders guiding the most influential companies in the world, the responsibility is on CEOs. At a time when consumer demands for fairness and transparency are at an all-time high, we must prioritize closing the Global Gender Gap.

The pressure is on and the time is right for real change. We call this the Flipping Point. It’s the perfect moment to rewrite the rules and design a workplace that is equitable for all. We must turn plans into action—to raise women’s pay, end gender disparate compensation, enhance benefits, and provide equal opportunities for advancement into the C-suite. While the actions may vary by each company, CEOs must act now to implement change and open the door to genuine equality.

In our changing world, maintaining productivity and attracting and retaining the best talent requires a rehabilitated workplace environment, where equal pay, diversity, flexibility, safety, and equality for all will be a minimum requirement. By championing gender equality—and taking actionable steps to achieve it—leaders have an opportunity to reimagine the workforce.

Closing the gender gap in five years requires leaders to be pioneers. To explore where no one has been before. The CEOs who take the leap to foster equality, diversity, and flexibility in the workplace will be the ones to set a new standard and lead the wave of change—and before long, they won’t be alone. Once one leader paves the way, others will be soon to follow.

But first, we must take on the challenge.

The Female Quotient is committed to adopting a Moonshot Mindset with a group of ten CEOs, who are ready and willing to prioritize this mission and get to work. Through the Flipping Point, as a group, we will create disruptive ideas and land into the future of the workplace together.

It does not take a rocket scientist; it takes a Moonshot Mindset.

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