Do not all humans on Earth deserve the same rights?
The answer is yes. Equal opportunity is a basic human right embedded in international laws. Thanks to the Agenda 2030, focus is placed on equal opportunities for all people – as one of the global goals for sustainable development. Equal opportunity means treating all people the same and not being influenced by a person’s sex, race, religion, or any other characteristic. It should apply to all areas, starting with health and education as well as economics and politics.
Unfortunately, there is still a distinctive discrepancy between women and men. Although a lot has improved, there is not a single country globally that for example has achieved gender parity. On average, according to a World Bank study, women are only afforded 75% of the legal rights an average man enjoys. It has strong implications regarding poverty, education, employment and social customs. For example, 60% of chronically hungry people are women and girls. According to the World Economic Forum (WEF) in “Global Gender Gap Report 2021”, political empowerment remains the area with the largest gender gap, with women representing only 22.6% of more than 3,400 ministers worldwide.
Equal opportunity starts with education
Education is fundamental for personal development and plays a key role to in achieving equal opportunities. Stereotypes start at a very early age. Education can contribute to emphasize or reduce them. #AccessToEducation is usually a prerequisite for people to participate in the business and political world. Therefore, it is a key factor in achieving equal opportunities, including economic and political opportunities.
There are tremendous disparities across countries. Whereas the overall gender gaps are nearly closed in Educational Attainment and Health and Survival, as defined by the WEF in its “Global Gender Gap Report 2021”, there is still a long way to go towards effective equality in everyday life.
Where does the corporate world stand?
In a corporate world, equal opportunity usually focuses on gender equality, which means workforce diversity, equal pay and career opportunities. A diverse workforce at all levels of a company supports the company’s business and financial performance. According to McKinsey Global institute, the global annual GDP could gain USD 28 trillion if gender gaps were closed by 2025.
While many companies advertise “we are an equal opportunities employer “, the reality is often slightly different. According to the WEF and looking at the current rate, closing the gender gap worldwide will take more than 135 years. Unfortunately, the WEF study also suggests that women were more affected by the Covid-19 pandemic than men. Some of the previously closed gaps have re-opened, which shows the fragility of gender equality and the need for further progress to achieve more stability.
What can be done at the political level?
Equal opportunities are not only needed within companies, the biggest leverage effect comes from political decision making. Government politics fosters equal opportunities, specifically in regard to social security access to health and education and banning discrimination. Reducing inequalities (SDG10) requires transformative change and should be achieved within and among countries. It remains a challenge, as Covid-19 has increased the average GINI index (measuring the inequality of income distribution in countries or regions) by 6% for emerging markets and developing countries.
How can I invest?
At radicant, we are convinced that a diverse workforce at all levels supports the company’s business and therefore, its financial performance. Studies like the Diversity wins study from McKinsey, found that the higher the proportion of women executives, the higher the likelihood of above-average profitability and outperformance. Therefore, investing in SDG 5 (Gender Equality) does not only help create a more just and equitable world, but it also creates value for the shareholders.
At a company’s level, gender equality can be enforced directly in the internal operations, indirectly in the suppliers’ operations or through the products and services offered. For example, a company providing daycare facilities enables both parents to work and makes a clear contribution towards gender equality. Another example of gender equality embedded in product offers is content providers, such as TV channels or music platforms, paying attention to the equal representation of genders and minorities. They are considered as contributors to SDG 5 (Gender Equality) too.
In order to reduce inequalities and foster SDG 10 (Reduced Inequalities), we also aim to invest in companies that contribute to #Healthcare4All, #AccessToFinance, #AccessToEducation or even #AffordableHousing. For example, a bank providing microloans to women in developing countries enables them to start a business and become financially independent. Investing in such a bank contributes to the achievement of SDG 1 (No Poverty) but also of SDG 10 (Reduced Inequalities) and would also have a positive impact on other SDGs since they are all interdependent.
Invest with us and let us know which investment trends you find the most interesting and sustainable to reduce inequalities.