2018 has been the year of the woman. Finally!
At the same time, however, dedicating the honour of the year to over half the human race still suggests that there’s some way to go. Despite a growing number of encouraging statistics, there are still implacable barriers to true equality.
In the US, over 12 million businesses are owned by female CEOs or entrepreneurs. Various studies have also shown that women in business are more likely to embrace new technological advances than their male counterparts. An example of this is the edge female entrepreneurs have in incorporating the use of digital payments for revenue collection (33% vs 26% among men).
There’s good reason for the fanfare that top female leaders like Oprah Winfrey, Sheryl Sandberg or Christine Lagarde garner, but it’s crucial that we form our opinions of them based on the quality of their vision – in the same fond way history chooses to remember Steve Jobs.
What makes these women brilliant has nothing to do with the fact that they’ve all achieved firsts as women, but rather that they’ve been equipped with exceptional skill sets – just as any man would be judged in the same position.
Equality, like truth, is a moving target. It requires constant redefining, and in the age of fake news and hyper-groupthink, the empowerment of women in business must advance its progress against one of the last few remaining inequalities of our time.
By 2018, gender is no longer considered a barrier to any opportunity, but to truly realise this, the concept of gender as a differentiating factor at all must be done away with. A good businesswoman is what she is because she’s good at business. The rest is simply icing on the cake.
Business Essentials is Africa’s premium networking and business directory.