PwC on Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow

Originally published at PwC is a Hall of Fame company.


The 2022 UN International Women’s Day Theme is “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow.” As we planned for this day, rallying female climate and sustainability leaders from across the PwC Network to share their voice on the twin challenges of Climate and Gender Equality, we never imagined that we would find ourselves in the position we are in today of looking on in horror at the dire situation unfolding in Ukraine.

This International Women’s Day, our thoughts continue to be with our Ukrainian colleagues and their loved ones, the Ukrainian people generally and in particular today, with the girls and women who have lost their lives, whose lives are in danger or who have been displaced or separated from loved ones by this grave situation.

Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow

Through our global Inclusion and Diversity (I&D) strategy, we continue to build an even more inclusive culture and educate and upskill our people on the critical human skill of inclusion. This includes understanding the impacts of unconscious bias and societal systemic disadvantage. Our strategy will continue to help embed an I&D lens across everything we do at PwC, including our approach to climate change.

We are focused on contributing to the debate, for example, through our net-zero analysis in our Women in Work Index and a toolkit we developed under our Work and Opportunity for Women program (funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office [FCDO]) for how businesses can achieve a gender-just transition to net zero.

This year, through our IWD video, we’re celebrating female climate leaders from across the PwC Network to champion them as role models and share their perspectives on the importance of a sustainable and gender-equal future.

“Business and governments can do more to provide targeted support for women to help them take advantage of new green jobs,” said Emma Cox, Global Climate Leader at PwC. “This includes identifying barriers to entry for women in green growth sectors, upskilling and reskilling and improving access to finance for female entrepreneurs who will play a key role in the transition to net zero.”

Women in Work Index 2022

Building an Inclusive Workplace in a Net Zero World

This year, we celebrate a decade of PwC’s Women in Work Index. The report reflects on the very real impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on women’s lives, jobs, economic prosperity and broader wellbeing; and importantly, to look toward the future. Here are some statistics from the index:

  • $6 trillion: Annual boost to OECD GDP from increasing the female employment rate to match those of Sweden
  • 69%: Female labor force participation down one percentage point from the previous year
  • 4.3 million: More women became unemployed between 2019 and 2020
  • 63 years: To close the gender pay gap at the historic rate of progress

The pandemic has set back progress towards gender equality at work by at least two years. As governments and businesses around the world come together to rebuild economies and accelerate action to address the climate crisis, there are lessons to be learned from the pandemic that must be woven into policies going forward, if we are to achieve a greener, fairer and more prosperous future for all.

Women May Miss Out on New Green Jobs: A Risk of Even Greater Inequality in the Future

The next decade of Women in Work will be shaped by the transition of economies to net-zero emissions, and the corresponding jobs created. Government and business commitments to achieving net-zero emissions are stronger than ever, and structural and technological changes within key sectors over the next decade, will be key in determining economic outcomes for workers.

“We currently have a unique opportunity to develop a new blueprint for the future world of work — one that better meets the needs of women and other marginalized groups,” said Cox.

Our analysis of the energy sector’s transition to net zero shows that across the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), new green jobs created will be concentrated in only a few sectors: utilities, construction and manufacturing being the clear top three. These sectors employ nearly 31% of the male workforce across the OECD, compared to only 11% of the female workforce. With new jobs concentrated in sectors that are male-dominated, men are immediately better placed to take advantage of the new opportunities.

If nothing is done to improve women’s representation in these sectors, we estimate that the employment gap between men and women across the OECD will widen by 1.7 percentage points by 2030 rising from 20.8% in 2020 to 22.5% in 2030 (instead of 22.0% in the case that OECD economies did nothing to address the climate crisis).