Cindy Laquidara is a lawyer based in Jacksonville, Florida. She is Board Certified by the Florida Bar in City, County & Local Government Law.

Women in Business

Cindy LaquidaraImagine you have a problem, and a group of people are available to you as a resource to solve that problem. To best solve it, would you only use 50 percent of those people? Probably not.

That’s just a simple way of understanding the issue with gender inequality in the workplace. We aren’t using all the human resources available to solve problems with innovative, effective, and lasting solutions with such a significant gender gap. Women hold 4.6 percent of Fortune 500 CEO positions and 4.6 percent of Fortune 1000 CEO position.

What most aren’t realizing is that women don’t need to hold key leadership positions in business as desperately as businesses need women to hold them. According to a recent “Eurobarometer” poll published by the European Commission, forty-one percent of Europeans believe the responsibility to tackling the issues presented by climate change lies within business and industry. A perfect resource to solving issues like this? Women.

Women have the unique capability of connecting with the injustice of the negative impacts on the most vulnerable, because for centuries, they were the one of most vulnerable. Fighting for the rights men were born with, women understand the intergenerational inequalities we will continue to contribute to if we fail to act in the name of justice and pass on the problem for future generations.

A study titled “Women, Business and the Law 2014” found that we still have a ways to go in closing the gender-gap on a global scale. In 90 percent of the 143 countries studied, there are still legal differences that restrict women from having equal economic opportunities. This includes laws related to both owning and using property, accessing institutions, and simply having the right to work.

The study found that in 79 economies around the world, women are restricted to the types of work they can do. Additionally, and oddly, within these restrictive economies, there are policies encouraging women to join and remain in the workforce, despite their direct association with less income equality.

The narrative emerging from this study’s findings is both troubling and complex. A call for change is necessary, because we’re still only asking 50 percent of that group for help, and thus getting 50 percent of the solution.