Vijay Eswaran is the chairman and founder of QI Group of companies headquartered in Hong Kong. He is a speaker, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. Additionally, he is the author of three bestselling books: leadership and mindfulness, Two Minutes from the Abyss (2017), and the sphere of silence, published in 2006.
According to Vijay, businesses and national economies that ignore their valuable assets lose long-term profitability and competitiveness. It is, therefore, necessary to solve the issue of gender inequality to prevent more wastage of human capital.
On a global basis, less than 50% of women are paid work compared to 77% of men. This gap has only barely reduced in the last two decades. As you go up the career ladder, this gap continues to widen, the number of female CEOs falling below 5% in the previous year.
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During a discussion with business leaders at the Concordia Summit and at the World Economic Forum, Vijay Eswaran realized that men are not necessary to bridge this gap. Women are the only advocates in the matter. It is thus essential for men to take up this responsibility and cut this gap.
Additionally, business leaders failed to understand that gender inequality is a human right and moral issue, and a bottom-line issue. This has brought about the misallocation of resources and thus a poor economy.
Research has shown that empowering women is a tool for economic development. According to experts, closing this gender gap would lead to an additional $28tn to the global economy by 2025. This increase would be an equivalent of the China and US GDP combined.
Vijay Eswaran believes that societies and companies are more likely to prosper if women acquire financial independence through ownership of properties and earning wages. Research by McKinsey in 2017 proved that companies with more women in executive roles have higher equity returns than those with none and performed much better.