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SDG #5 Achieve Gender equality and empower all women and girls & project management.

The latest in our series on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS) focuses on #5 (of 17), Gender Equality.

The following are the specific targets under this SDG.  They are vital to to sustainable development.

5.1 End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere05-gender-equality
5.2 Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation
5.3 Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation
5.4 Recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work through the provision of public services, infrastructure and social protection policies and the promotion of shared responsibility within the household and the family as nationally appropriate
5.5 Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life
5.6 Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights as agreed in accordance with the Program of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review conferences
5.a Undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources, in accordance with national laws
5.b Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women
5.c Adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels

Can Project Management contribute to these?

Maybe the question we should be asking is, are we part of the problem?

Let’s find out by honing in on one of the targets. 5.a “Undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources…” and we will pause there.  Let’s talk about equal pay.

Recent research by the APM and PMI show similar numbers.

According to the APM, “the disparity in pay between male and female project professionals is particularly acute in the higher salary bands. The survey shows that 29% of female participants earned £30,000-£39,999 per annum, whereas the largest group of males (21%) earned £40,000-£49,999. Also 6% of males earned £100,000 compared to only 1% of females.”

Yes.  This is a problem.

In comparison, the United States the numbers don’t look much better.  PMI’s research shows that the salary scale swings in favor of men.

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According to 2014 Shriver Report women’s average annual paychecks in the United States reflected only 77 cents for every $1.00 earned by men.

So what can we do about this?

As a Project Manager there are three key things you can do.

  • First. Ensure your project team resources are hired and paid equally based on skill.  When staffing project teams, mind the gap.  Meaning, pay individuals based on the pre-defined job description and not which restroom they use.
  • Second. Ensure that project procurement includes clauses for vendors requiring that they also pay their employees equally, based on skill.  This will have a massive impact! It will force the hand of organizations vying for your business to reassess their own practices.
  • Third. If you are a male working in an organization and:
    • knowingly make more than your female counterparts, stand up and demand equal pay for them.
    • are aware that females are not promoted as fast as males or are passed up for opportunities, be an agent of change and support your colleagues. Advocate for them. Being Silent is the same as condoning.

You do not have to be a feminist to stand up for women, you just have to be a human who believes in and does what is right.

Normally I would share a company doing it right.  Given that we are in the midst of the 2016 summer Olympics, I want to share a video from the U.S. Women’s Soccer star Abby Wambach on Pay inequality.  Enjoy!

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Dr. Joel Carboni

Dr. Joel Carboni has over 21 years in project, program and portfolio management having led initiatives in Aerospace, Finance, Government, and Technology. He has a Ph.D. in Sustainable Development and Environment, is a Certified Senior Project Manager (IPMA Level B®) and Certified Green Project Manager (GPM®). He is the founder and president of GPM Global, the International Institute for Peace and Sustainable Development, and the current President of the International Project Management Association USA (IPMA-USA) He is a medal of honor recipient from Universidad Autonoma Lisboa, AI Media's Leading Advisor Award 2017 the 2015 World CSR Congress Leadership Award, 2014 HRD Leadership & Training Award and 2013 IPMA Achievement Award He has lectured on or taught sustainable project management in 39 countries around the world.

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