There has been much discussion in the last few days about the announcement by the World Economic Forum that it predicts it will take 117 more years until we achieve gender parity in the workplace. 117 years takes us to the year 2133 AD, by which point most of us will be dead (unless the next tech trend turns out to be cryogenics).
It seems crazy that in today's workforce, which is driving developments like self-driving cars, gaming-genius AI, and making hoverboards a reality, we still don't have gender equality.
Research published recently by EY makes a compelling case for businesses to do more in terms of tackling existing inequalities: data shows that more diverse company boards command higher share prices and improved financial performance; balanced leadership increases a company's productivity and nationally a country's GDP can be lifted by reducing the gender gap.
So why as a community are we not doing more? Another piece of research that looked at start-ups receiving Series A funding in the Bay Area in 2015, showed that only 8% of firms were led by women - that's 16 out of 204 start-ups. And this figure was down by 30% from the previous year.
Start-ups and SMEs have huge challenges they usually have to overcome before they consider themselves successful. If the data is correct and having a balanced gender split in leadership teams results in improved performance and financial value, then surely we need to achieve gender equality before the centuries out?
"Try to imagine the world in a hundred years’ time. How many amazing, revolutionary changes will have taken place by 2116? Will there be human colonies on Mars? Computers we can control using our brains? Cancer-curing nanobots that roam our bodies while we sleep and stop us getting ill? Apparently all these things are perfectly possible. There’s another prediction, too, though it will come to pass a little later. The World Economic Forum forecasts that in one hundred and seventeen years’ time there will be gender parity in the global workplace."