Capability Knows No Gender, But Opportunity Does

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Posted: March 8, 2020

Capability Knows No Gender, But Opportunity Does

I have a question: Are you willing to wait 257 years for women around the world to have the same economic opportunities as men? That’s how long it will take if things progress at the current rate according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2020. That means it will be a very long time before women have parity with men when it comes to employment options, career progression, income, and even the ability to borrow money or access other financial tools.  

During my latest visit to the World Economic Forum in Davos, this sobering gender gap update was a consistent topic of discussion. The Report’s Economic Participation and Opportunity subindex measures progress (or lack of it) in closing the gender gap in 153 countries and notes that the overall gap actually grew slightly larger in the past year.

So while we are living in a time where women continue to challenge the status quo and are achieving more than ever before, there’s clearly still a long way to go, underscoring the point that capability knows no gender but opportunity does.

Economic equality is only one of many areas where women deserve the same opportunities as men. That’s why the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day once again hit home for me. The theme, #EachforEqual, is aimed at continuing to press for equality, not just in the boardroom, but in all aspects of society, from government to sports coverage to healthcare and education and more.

As the first woman to be appointed CEO of a major pharmaceutical company, I am especially mindful of the importance of diversity and inclusion. When I took on this role in 2012, I was the 18th woman to join the ranks of Fortune 500 CEOs. Today, as I prepare to retire from Mylan at the conclusion of its planned transition to Viatris, there are still only 33.

I have never believed that good leadership could be determined by gender, but great leadership can only happen with diversity. At Mylan we have always believed in equal opportunities and that differing perspectives and life experiences make our business stronger. However, we have also realized that to create and uphold a more diverse organization we need to further develop strategies and organizational structure for that very purpose. While my time as Mylan’s CEO may be coming to an end, I will remain an active advocate for gender equality, and, more importantly, the actions required – from both men and women together – to move us toward a more hopeful future. As I often say, women helping women can’t move the needle, we need our fathers, husbands, brothers and sons to help us make a difference in hopefully reducing the 257 year gap.

On March 8, let’s each commit to doing our part to create a more gender equal world. #EachforEqual.