02The WE 4.0 Framework

I think about global efforts to achieve gender equality as having gone through three stages of providing rights for women:

  • 1.0 Political and property rights
  • 2.0 Social rights
  • 3.0 Workplace rights

These hard-won rights were the required stepping stones to get women where we are today. Notwithstanding notable and glaring exceptions in some countries, women, overall, have made significant strides in education, health, voting and property rights, equal pay, the workplace, and more.

But now, the march to gender equality is stalled, especially in terms of economic participation.

  • WOMEN aren’t advancing any further and, in fact, in the 10 years since the World Economic Forum began measuring it, the global economic gender gap has narrowed by only 2%.1
  • CONTRARY to widely held beliefs, global rates of female labor-force participation have stagnated, or even fallen, in recent decades.2
  • ALTHOUGH millennials are confident they will be the generation to achieve gender parity,3 the World Economic Forum reports that in 2017 the global gender gap actually widened, and that it will take a staggering 217 more years to close it.4

Klaus Schwab, founder and chairman of the World Economic Forum, sees that the world is on the brink of a fourth industrial revolution. He describes this period as a “Technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another. We do not yet know just how it will unfold, but one thing is clear: the ...

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