The bigger return for employers and for the UK economy is clear with £600 billion being added to the value of the economy if we close the gender pay gap. We have the best educated, best qualified female labour force we have ever had. And yet we are wasting that talent and investment as a result of poor, shortsighted (and sometimes illegal) practice. Definitely time for a game-changer. Let's hope the Government rises to the challenge.
I could probably list a hundred reasons why I love Glasgow, with everything from the culture, music, architecture, nightlife, and countless restaurants, to buskers and bagpipers on Buchanan Street, the Clyde, the Duke of Wellington with his ever-stylish traffic cone hat, and, of course, the people of Glasgow themselves.
In today's world, power lies in our political systems and our economies. These two institutions, broadly speaking, control the way we live our lives. They carry huge implications for our freedoms, our human rights and our levels of security - financial and otherwise. Now consider who has the greatest access to, and control over, these institutions. Overwhelmingly, it's men. This is the conclusion drawn by reams of research into gender parity across the globe. Take, for example, the World Economic Forum's new Global Gender Gap Report, which measures the gender gaps in four key areas - health, education, economic participation and political representation.
Good news is always welcome, so let's start there. New IFS research shows that the graduate 'premium' is more significant for women. They are likely to earn three times as much as employed women who do not have a degree. For male graduates the ratio is twice that of those working without the benefit of higher education...
I didn't count how many men stared, honked or hollered at me this morning. I wish I had, because I'm almost certain I've underestimated - I think the number is far higher than 20. It's not an unusual experience, it happens to me every day, but there was something about this morning that made me have to say something.
I want to make sure that anyone involved in this horrific practice, will be behind bars for a long-time. This is why someone in breach of a protection order can face up to five years in prison. This is in addition to laws already brought in - someone found guilty of assisting or performing FGM can face a sentence of up to fourteen years, whilst someone with responsibility of a child who has FGM performed on them, but failed to prevent the act could also face a sentence of up to seven years.
We still live in an education system that is geared towards and favours men; be that reserving a place for an Etonian at King's College, or providing a boy's school with more funding. Now that we have equal educational rights, these age old agreements need to be revised, reformed and ultimately repealed.
What I've began to realise over the last few weeks is the bigger picture. If I'd been in that crowd as teenage girl aspiring to work in the game...would it put me off? Quite possibly. Would I want my eight year old girl to witness it and believe that it was acceptable for her to be verbally abused due to the fact that she was a women? Absolutely not.
The changing attitudes have to do with FGM now being considered a form of gender based violence and a violation of human rights. Although it is not automatically understood this way in certain parts of the country where FGM is still deeply entrenched in culture, we see more people understand the concept that even young girls have rights.
This is not an impossible dream. About 70 countries have proportionally more women in their Parliaments than the UK. It can be done, we only need 177 more female MPs from a population of 32 million women. We don't want our daughters and granddaughters to be fighting the same old battle for fair representation.
For centuries, we've been stuck with the status quo: in the corporate world, in international affairs, in education, sports, media and everything in-between. The present state of affairs is very evidently not working, and yet it endures. It's time to start saying, loudly, "this isn't good enough anymore."