by Muna Abusulayman
RXR #DrivenByPurpose Ambassador / Social Impact Investor and Philanthropic Leader
Today, on March 8th, International Women's Day, we have spent a whole year dealing with COVID-19.
Looking back on the same day last year when we were just starting to face what would become the longest and biggest human experiment in virus control and healthcare history, no one could imagine what would happen to women.
Last year, Female Leadership and Economic Empowerment were two of the most important themes discussed for International Women’s Day.
This year, a lot of global progress made for female empowerment regressed. Before COVID-19, The World Economic Forum had calculated that it would take about 80 years for women to achieve full gender parity around the world. The figure today, after COVID-19, is at 100 years.
In particular, the stress on working mothers with school-age children and the mostly female caregiver force was challenging.
Unfortunately, these are not the only challenges that women and girls have faced worldwide. Studies have shown a sharp increase in girl school dropout rates, domestic abuse, child marriages and job loss. Globally, women in general were 24% more likely to permanently lose their jobs compared to men.
Unpaid caregiving responsibilities, which were amplified during the COVID-19 crisis and school closures, prevents paid employment opportunities and disproportionally are the responsibility of women.
Women academics were more likely to ask for a hold on their tenure process. They published 10% less than normal and started fewer research projects—actions of which the ramifications will be long term and impact tenure.
In addition, many of the philanthropic grants that went to female-related causes were diverted to deal with the health and poverty crisis from the COVID-19 and the consequences of the public policies implemented to stop the spread of the virus.
Despite that, the world's commitment to female empowerment did not waver. In a few days, The UN and UN Women will hold the Generation Equality Forum. The Forum is a global gathering for gender equality that will kick off on March 29th in Mexico. It builds on the transformations that have already happened to help women achieve equal status and equal treatment in the eyes of the law and in society but with a mission to create more actionable concrete commitments that will result in real change.
Muna Abusulayman has been named one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World on several occasions for her work in gender, media, leadership, education, and as an iconic Arab media personality and humanitarian. Rosberg X Racing will be working with Muna to highlight gender equality as a part of our #DrivenByPurposeCampaign. Be sure to keep a close eye on our social media pages as we will be sharing more about our #DrivenByPurposeCampaign and joint project in Saudi Arabia soon!