The year 2023 marks the halfway point for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set forth by the United Nations. These goals, established in 2015 and agreed upon by 193 countries, aim to create a more sustainable future for all. The focus is to protect the planet and improve the lives of everyone. Collaboration between countries is necessary to overcome the significant challenges faced.
Goal number 5 of the SDGs is gender equality, and despite reaching the halfway mark, significant work still needs to be done. According to a 2023 Gender Snapshot Report from the United Nations, it will take 140 years to reach parity in leadership positions and almost 300 years for full gender equality. This extended period is far too long, wasting resources, gifts, and capacity in the meantime.
As a Confidence Coach in Northumberland, this context plays a vital role in the work I do with clients. Even female leaders are not immune to societal expectations. It can be challenging for them to maintain self-confidence when the environment they work in and the attitudes and beliefs of their colleagues do not support them. As a coach, I work alongside them, encouraging and challenging them, but we also must acknowledge that the burden of change does not lie solely with them; the organization and team cultures and colleagues have a significant role to play too.
Women leaders from around the world met in September 2023 to discuss accelerating the implementation of SDG 5 and gender equality. They know all too well how gender, rather than competence or achievement, is sometimes the focus when a woman holds a leadership position. Additionally, they are subject to vitriolic messages through social media. According to a recent report by UN Women and the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, an additional investment of USD 360 billion per year is needed globally to complete SDG 5.
Now the question remains: Will male-dominated governments prioritize this spending and unleash the latent skills and abilities of women around the world for the benefit of all? Organizations need to recognize the value that women leaders bring and support them accordingly. Failing to do so results in a real loss of talent for their company.
In conclusion, the efforts towards achieving SDGs align with our business goals, and as Confidence Coach, I aim to support female leaders to improve their self-confidence. But organizations also need to shoulder their portion of the responsibility and create an environment that promotes gender equality and recognizes the value that women leaders bring to the table.