79 years to gender parity? No, it’s actually closer to 117. Last year the World Economic Forum had to revise its 2014 prediction that it would take until 2095 to achieve global gender parity. The current estimate is 2133.
Worldwide, women contribute to social, economic, cultural and political achievement and have much to celebrate, but this slow progress to full equality is unacceptable. Men and women are being called upon to speed up the clock by taking a #PledgeforParity this International Women’s Day and beyond.
International Women's Day, originally called International Working Women's Day, has been celebrated on 8th March every year since 1909. Women have made huge strides toward equality in that time and on International Women’s Day we celebrate these achievements. At the same time we acknowledge that there is still much work to be done before women are in business and politics in equal numbers to men, are just as likely to occupy leadership roles, and are being paid the same as their male counterparts for the same work and across all professions.
Diversity is good for organisations and their end customers and users. Managed correctly diversity in teams can lead to improved corporate performance. Non-profit organisation Catalyst have identified the benefits of a gender balanced leadership including better financial performance and improved innovation. In the UK only 19% of private sector board members, 36% of public sector leaders and 23% of our Parliamentarians are women.
Gender disparities in the UK information sectors
Last November results from a landmark UK information workforce survey, commissioned by CILIP and the Archives and Records Association (UK & Ireland) provided a clearer picture of the state of our sector and the work that needs to be done to improve gender equality.
We must work towards gender-balanced leadership in the sector. While the vast majority (78%) of the workforce is female, men typically earn more than women and are nearly twice as likely to be in senior management roles than their female counterparts. This must change.
CILIP is committed to diversity and valuing equality within our workforce, our membership and across society, and in our 2016 - 2020 Action Plan we pledge to ensure that this commitment is embedded in our day-to-day policies and working practices with all our colleagues and partners. We will provide equality of opportunity and will not tolerate discrimination on any grounds.
In the Action Plan we have committed to creating a National Library and Information Skills Strategy. This will include practical, long-term ways in which we can improve gender equality at a leadership level. It is essential that we work with employers, members and the workforce to have the impact that we want. The Workforce Mapping has told us where we are, the Skills Strategy will set our direction, with equality of opportunities at its core.
Supporting International Women’s Day
On International Women’s Day CILIP has made a Pledge for Parity and we are celebrating the inspiring and successful women leaders in the library and information sector. We have invited some of them to share their advice for aspiring leaders and tell us what leadership means to them.
Join the campaign - take a #PledgeforParity and share what leadership means to you. Visit International Women’s Day for research reports and more ways you can support.
Management Consultant & CILIP Board Member
Professional Advisor, Library & Knowledge Services, Health Education England
Dame Lynne Brindley
Academic & former CEO of British Library
Head of Knowledge Management, BLM
Head of Support and Well-being, Macmillan Cancer Support
Library and knowledge Service Lead, Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Immediate Past CILIP President
Chief Executive, Suffolk Libraries IPS Ltd
Chief Librarian at the British Library
 The CILIP Action Plan 2016-2020 is published in draft until the 18th March. Please send any additional comments to firstname.lastname@example.org