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Gender equality progress has gone into reverse

9 out of 10 people of all genders have a bias against women, according to the Gender Social Norms Index published by the UN. The research collected data between 2017 and 2022 in 80 countries and compared the results with the same research done a decade ago.

The trend shows that bias against women is as entrenched as it was a decade ago and gender equality progress has gone into reverse. Half of people in 80 countries believe men make better political leaders and 40% believe men are better business executives.

These biases manifest in various aspects of society, including perceptions of leadership. One research looked into the warmth/competence matrix, a tool used to understand the balance between perceived warmth (friendliness, trustworthiness, kindness) and competence (intelligence, efficiency, power) in leaders. Successful women were found to be perceived as cold and selfish, whereas successful men were seen as warm and generous. The researchers found that this negative bias regarding women had a measurable impact on the gender pay gap, as negotiating assertively for salary can be perceived as reducing warmth, leading to lower compensation for women.

Although these results are shocking, there is hope. The UN report also showed that the younger part of the population clearly strives for an equal society. To get there, strategies such as raising awareness of gender biases in the workplace and addressing issues, recognizing women’s economic contributions (also for the unpaid work they do), enacting laws for women’s political participation, and combating stereotypes are needed to achieve this goal.

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Kim Pillen

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Kim Pillen


Before Kim Pillen started as a trend consultant at TrendsActive, she worked for four years as a creative strategist at Dept. For brands such as Philips,, Beiersdorf, JBL, and the Consumers’ Association, she built (online) campaign, brand, and social media strategies. After four years, she decided that she wanted to better understand people and society in order to advise brands more effectively. That’s how she ended up at TrendsActive. Here, she can do what she loves most: digging into people’s needs and then working with brands to see how and where they can be relevant and meaningful.

Douwe Knijff


Douwe is fascinated by how people work. With a background in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences (Bachelor) and Psychology (Master) and an analytical mind he tries figure out how societal shifts manifest themselves through social culture and human behaviour.

Aljan De Boer

Keynote speaker

Aljan has been widely recognized as an inspiring professional speaker on the critical trends that will shape society in the decades to come. He works as the Head of Inspiration at TrendsActive, a trend consultancy from the Netherlands using social science to human-proof business decision for brands like

  • Disney
  • Vodafone
  • Hugo Boss
  • ASR
  • Rabobank

Next to his role at TrendsActive he is the Community Director at the Institute for Real Growth where he inspires and connects a global community of +400 CMOs.  

He has been on the board of the Dutch Platform of Innovative Marketing for almost a decade. Regular speaker and moderator for the Dutch Marketing Awards and 3 times winner of the best of MIE. 

Kees Elands

Founder & Strategist

Kees his purpose is to help ambitious leaders and brands to human-proof their business. In 2003 he founded TrendsActive, a trend consultancy enabling brands to become more human centric.

Kees consults global brands like

  • Disney
  • The Coca-Cola Company
  • Asics
  • Discovery Channel
  • Swiss Life
  • Vodafone

and many more.

Next to being the founder of TrendsActive, he is also initiator of the first academic trend master for executives at the University of Utrecht and is initiator of various trend studies and white papers on subjects like trust, meaning, visual culture & generations.


Kees Elands

Founder & Strategist

Kees Elands

Founder & Strategist