• Polymath Weekly

How building bigger tables will help combat gender inequality

It has become more difficult to assess how closer we have come towards achieving gender equality in the past years. With increased rates of domestic abuse against women during the COVID-19 pandemic, women's rights in Afghanistan suffering since the Taliban invasion last August and, more recently, the Supreme Court ending the constitutional right to abortion in the US, we seem to be going backwards instead.


It would seem that modern feminist figures have all the tools to spread progressive ideas faster than ever and there are women across the world who hold high positions in government.


Why is it then, even when women have a seat at the table, the issue of gender inequality remains unsolved?


The problem is not in the chairs or women themselves - it is in the table. In simpler terms, the table stands for the society we live in, and it is has not been designed to have space for women to have say, freedom or rights equal to those of men.


The solution?


The short answer is "build bigger tables." In practice, this would mean restructuring workplaces, industries, governing bodies and communities so that women, instead of squeezing their way in, would be encouraged and empowered to contribute to the table talk.


Second, it should be kept in mind that often, women are forced to believe that it is a privilege and not their right to have a seat. However, inviting women to join the table would not be just a kind gesture; A recent study has shown that corporations with greater gender diversity are 25% more likely to be more productive and profitable than others.


Building new tables will take a lot of resources, time, and patience, but if we all unite to contribute to the process, the world will become a place where all of us can thrive.


This article was inspired by Lily Singh's TED Talk '"A Seat at the Table" Isn't the Solution for Gender Equity.'


[Cover Image: Getty Images/ISTOCKPHOTO]

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