2 women at work lifting mugs to toast each other (Photo: Shutterstock)

In honor of Women’s History Month, we celebrate the impact women have made in our lifetime. Yet despite the progress, there are still biases and disparities that we encounter. Whether these are unconscious or not, bias makes it difficult for women to move ahead. Knowing that bias exists isn’t enough, action is needed to level the playing field. This year’s theme #BreaktheBias —spotlights the individual and collective biases against women that fuel gender inequality. While we have been moving in the right direction, there is much more to do. For example, if you consider the fact women are still facing a pay gap, you wonder why this is still the case. This is one area where we can see the ripple effects of pay disparity.  These are far-reaching, leading to retirement inequity and retirement insecurity for women.

Retirement is the single largest financial objective we have in our lifetime, and for women it is even a greater hurdle.  As a woman, and the CEO of a financial services company focused on serving the retirement needs of those working in public service, this is very personal to me. Women make up half the workforce and control one-third of U.S. household financial assets. Yet, they earn, on average, 84 percent of what men make and hold fewer leadership roles. Because they assume the lion’s share of parenting and caregiving, they are absent from the workforce longer than men. Women also live longer than men, meaning they require even greater assets to retire. There are actions leaders can take to address this difference by creating opportunities for women to ensure the playing field is balanced. This is not just good to do, it’s good for business. According to McKinsey & Company data, $4.3 trillion can be added to the country’s economy if gender parity is reached by 2025.

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