Opinion: Women can’t wait any longer for gender equality

Editor’s note: Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg are the CEOs and founders of theSkimm. The opinions expressed in this comment are his own. See more reviews on CNN.

In August, Finland’s comprehensive family leave scheme went into effect, providing 160 days of parental leave for both parents (or 320 days for a single parent). While it’s great to see the progress other countries are making, we doubt the US will ever understand how essential paid family leave is to achieving true gender equality.

Sharon Suh

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation released a report in September, citing research that suggests the world will not reach gender equality until 2108. As women continue to shoulder the burden of caregiving, the lack of paid family leave exacerbates the inequalities they face. also the workplace. Also, since women earn less than men on average, they have to work more for the same pay. These differences only increase women of color

Here is the reality women are facing: The system is not just broken, it was never built to be equal. But no step is too small when it comes to anticipating our future. As women and business leaders, we cannot sit back and watch decades of continued inequality. We call on business leaders to act in the following ways:

The odds continue to stack against women when it comes to their finances. They bank less for retirement and long-term savings, and they don’t work with investment advisors as much as men, which can make it harder for them to build wealth.

It’s not just a wealth gap, it’s a wealth knowledge gap. Women often exhibit a lack of confidence in their financial well-being, which contributes to lower levels of financial literacy compared to their male counterparts.

As developments in fintech and cryptocurrencies change the way we save and invest, information is key to ensuring women have a seat at the table. A knowledge base empowers women to take control of their finances and feel empowered as they build wealth.

Employers need to provide women with resources that not only support their long-term goals (such as 401(k) programs, stock options, and stock in the company they’re helping build) but also financial education programs that can help them get smarter. savings, investment and retirement decisions. This could include financial goal setting workshops or services that facilitate spending and saving habits.

The US is one of the few industrialized nations that has not implemented a national paid family leave policy. Even in the private sector, only a quarter of employees have paid leave. In a recent study by insurance agency Breeze, 74% of women who take unpaid maternity leave have exhausted their savings after eight weeks.

While we know it’s fundamental to make a national paid family leave policy accessible to all, we can’t wait for that to happen. In March, we launched our #ShowUsYourLeave database, where companies can showcase their leave policies, and we knew it was imperative that we as employers speak up. Without paid family consent, women will continue to be pushed out of the workforce. That’s not just bad for equality, it’s bad for the economy. We need more entrepreneurs to join us.

We implemented a paid leave policy at TheSkimm long before we had expectant parents on the team. It offers 18 weeks of paid family leave (including foster care, surrogacy and foster care) to all new parents, as well as emotional, psychological and financial resources. And we’ve already had several team members, including Danielle, using it. Policies like paid family leave allow companies to show that they support their employees, which helps with retention.

Women are tired of feeling less than. The fact that another century probably won’t make enough progress can feel crippling. But we cannot let our children – or our children’s children – carry these burdens. We have to act now because we are no 100 more years waiting for equality.