Diversity, Progress Spotlighted on International Women's Day 2018

Gender parity promoted on International Women's Day. ( Farm Journal )

As activism for women's equality expands worldwide, the World Economic Forum's (WEF) 2017 Global Gender Gap Report says the goal isn't expected to be reached until 217 years from now.

The latest findings reveal the gap appears to be widening. In 2016, WEF anticipated that 170 years would pass before women achieve equal pay and representation in the workplace.

"People's abilities are people's abilities," said Evan Myers, AccuWeather senior vice president and chief operating officer. "There's always been a pay gap in society between men and women and between other groups of people, and there's really no place for that.”

When it comes to receiving a pay raise or applying for a higher-level position, some women are unaware of their value and worth as a qualified employee, according to Elizabeth Soroka, AccuWeather's vice president of human resources.

"Not negotiating pay or not getting the promotion causes an issue with women taking on more low-level positions, creating occupational segregation and less of an opportunity for leadership roles," Soroka said.

AccuWeather Broadcast Meteorologist Laura Velasquez, an 11-year veteran who works alongside six female and seven male broadcasters, believes gender shouldn't be part of the equation.

"I'd like to see pay based solely on accomplishments, experience, education and work ethic," Velasquez said.

Women in Leadership: Good for Business
AccuWeather, a leading global media and meteorological organization which boasts a diverse team of more than 400 employees, prides itself on encouraging growth within the company and letting employees know that they're the heart of its success.

"It really means a lot to me to know that I work at a company that's committed to helping promote their employees and finding a path for success for anybody who wants to get there," said AccuWeather Business Intelligence Manager Rosemary Radich.

Companies at which women, minorities and people of different sexual orientations are represented within leadership are better able to engage the various types of populations with which they do business, said Rosemary Radich, AccuWeather business intelligence manager.

Diverse leadership that includes women also benefits a company's bottom line, she says.

"We've found time and time again that companies [with strong female leadership] do better financially, compared to the competitors where women aren't represented," Radich said.

Despite data from the WEF that shows the proportion of female leaders has risen an average of just over 2% across 12 industries, data also shows that when leadership includes women, more women tend to be hired across the board at all levels.

Working Together to Achieve Gender Parity
As a college student studying meteorology in the late 90s, Trish Mikita, AccuWeather vice president of digital media strategy, recalls often being the only woman in the room.

"There were never more than 10 percent of females in any of my highest-level meteorology, physics or math classes; it was still very much a male-dominated field," Mikita said.

A recent study found that women comprise 29% of television weathercaster roles. Males continue to dominate meteorology and other science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, which is why their roles are considered essential to the process of progress.

"Our chief marketing officer's leadership team is 75 percent women, and our chief technology officer's leadership team is about 40 percent women," Radich said.

"That's in an area where a lot of companies only have about 10 percent of their leadership positions made up of women," she added. "There are men out there who are really good advocates for change, and it can be done."