It’s not the 8th of March. That day in the calendar when we praise women, regret the glass ceiling they face when developing their careers and pledge support to crack it wide open.
But as in other celebrations – say Christmas day or Thanksgiving – we just bury the hatchet for a few hours before we carry on business as usual.
So yes, is not the 8th of March or International Women’s Day. But anytime is convenient to talk about equality and the shameful underrepresentation of women in governments, parliaments, company boardrooms and leadership roles in general.
The knowledgeable reader must have noticed that our cover features Rosie the Riveter, a famous poster of the WWII propaganda rediscovered in the eighties to become a symbol of feminism.
Under the bubble We can do it! the poster was aimed at encouraging women in the US to support the war effort and take over the jobs left vacant by the men called up for military service.
That period of history proved exactly what the poster’s compelling message conveyed: women can do it. Only under the heavy pressure of war economy requirements the myth of gender discrimination was busted.
The icon of Rosie the Riveter was later adopted by the feminist movement but the propaganda poster omitted an ugly truth.
Indeed women did it, but they earned much lower salaries than men, while they had to carry on with their housework burdens. As the war was over, men returned and Rosie the Riveter was relieved of her duties. Women were massively fired and the gender gap widened.
After a long period of sexist darkness, only in relatively recent times signs of women’s emancipation are emerging. Yet finance and accountancy remain a white western male-dominated space.
But gender equality is only one dimension of the wider sphere of diversity. In this context resonates Sacha Romanovitch’s message.
Asked by our sister title International Accounting Bulletin about the relevance of her appointment as CEO of Grant Thornton UK, she warned about not getting "caught on the superficial".
She preferred to highlight her achievement in the wider context of the diversity agenda, where further gaps still persist.
Let’s face it, discrimination based on sex, economic background or race is a scourge that presents many faces. But the glass ceiling arbitrary imposed on women is a pressing issue that is crippling our economic progress.
We are not benefiting from the talent of more than half of the global population. That is particularly true in African countries were women face a tougher environment to finally achieve the empowerment they deserve to be a driving force for the development of the continent.
At a very modest rate, her colleagues in the Western world have started to make great strides but the consequences of this historic injustice are still pervasive.
This month we publish our round table with African female leaders held in Mauritius at the Africa Congress of Accountants. Find out more about their struggle.
An historic injustice: Africa’s gender gap
Africa round table: Hear the roar of the African women’s silence
Carlos Martin Tornero