ThriveAbility — Waymaker for the Next Economic Paradigm: A Dialogue with Ralph Thurm

This interview with Ralph Thurm has some interesting idea’s about our need to change the way we look at economics and sustainability and has some relevance to Gender Economics.  He says in the interview;

Our current economic system is based on an unsustainable, high-stress, linear economy powered by fear, fossil fuels, materialism and a focus on financial success. Maintaining this rationale will both cause irreversible damages to planet Earth as the mother of all life, and trigger the emergence and increase of social dissonances due to discontent, population growth, demographic change and increasing social inequalities”

Image credit: TEDx RSM

This is a similar concept to Gender Economics and the idea that we have largely ‘masculinised’ our economic system which predominately works on the idea of scarcity, which I think puts greater emphasis on fear and power  particularly in a market economy where everything has a price.

See the full article here

ThriveAbility — Waymaker for the Next Economic Paradigm: A Dialogue with Ralph Thurm

http://www.sustainablebrands.com/news_and_views/new_metrics/bill_baue/thriveability_waymaker_next_economic_paradigm_dialogue_ralph_th?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=schtweets&utm_campaign=editorial

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“The trouble with gender economics”, The Guardian 2011

reblogged from The Guardian

Original Post by

Thursday 19 May 2011 01.59 EST

At a global summit in Paris, France, MPs from around the world argued that investing in girls can spur economic growth. But the economic case for gender equality has its critics

MDG : Young girl in class at Makuyuni school in the Monduli District, Tanzania, Africa.

Young girls attend Makuyuni school in the Monduli District, Tanzania, Africa. Photograph by Graeme Robertson for the Guardian

Family planning is notoriously one of the most politicised and divisive issues in development debates, and gender equality one of the most neglected. But over the past few years, advocates for both have emerged from across the political spectrum and from some of the most unlikely sources – including the World Bank. This week, a diverse group of parliamentarians from around the world gathered at the French Assemblée Nationale before next week’s G8 summit, calling for a special focus on the 600 million girls and young women in developing countries around the world.

Organised by the European parliamentary forum on population and development (EPF), the summit brought together parliamentarians from across the political spectrum, including the UK Liberal Democrat Jenny Tonge, French Socialist Philippe Tourtelier, and George Tsereteli, a centre-right MP from Georgia. EPF secretary Neil Datta argues that “each political party has a value base that can be supportive of reproductive health”, and that the trick is to mobilise support without politicising debate. Above all, it’s the economic case for supporting girls – popularised by the social media-savvy “Girl Effect” campaign and promoted by the World Bank – that is bringing unexpected allies to the table.

According to Gill Greer, director-general of the International planned parenthood federation, every year a girl spends in secondary school pushes her future wages up by 15-20%, and women generally re-invest 90% of their earnings in their communities. The World Bank agrees, and has thus decided to back programmes focusing conditional cash transfers on women, and providing vouchers to employers who hire women. For the bank’s expert on gender, Mayra Buvinic, investing in girls is simply “smart economics.” For Greer, the argument that investment in the rights and health of girls can spur economic growth provides a powerful tool for advocates seeking consensus on politically sensitive issues such as reproductive health. And according to Datta, arguments about the economic benefits of gender equality, reproductive health, and family planning have helped to garner cross-party support in donor countries including Ireland, Spain, and the Netherlands.

But making women work for the market is not the same thing as making markets work for women, and the economic argument for investing in girls is not without its critics. Earlier this year, a debate about the Girl Effect campaign rippled across the development blogosphere, sparked in part by a provocative critique on Aid Watch. Guest blogger Anna Carella argued that the Girl Effect plays into stereotypes of women as natural caregivers and reinforces perceptions of “women’s work” and “men’s work”. It further neglects crucial macroeconomic issues and prioritises the wellbeing of the economy over the wellbeing of women, she said. “While this campaign seems like a godsend for those who have been working to improve the lives of women, it may actually be damaging to women.”

Meanwhile, Elaine Zuckerman, a former World Bank economist, has taken aim at the bank’s gender action plan and policy, criticising its dismissal of human rights and arguing that the “business case for gender equality” only perpetuates the bank’s neo-liberal agenda. And for Datta, the risk is that programmes favouring quick fixes will win over long-term strategies to tackle deep-rooted power relations that require generations to surmount.

All of this leaves global gender advocates in a tricky position. They have an argument that has garnered unprecedented support for traditionally neglected issues and divisive debates. Linking gender equality with economic growth offers a convincing argument at a time when budget cuts and austerity talk put NGOs and aid agencies under enormous pressure to provide innovative approaches to entrenched development issues. And it’s an agenda that shows no sign of losing steam. Next year, the World Bank will dedicate its flagship World Development Report to gender equality. And the bank’s International Development Association (IDA) fund, which provides soft loans and grants to the poorest countries, has made gender equality one if its four priority themes. But to benefit from this unprecedented focus without seeing stickier issues slip off the agenda – such as the hard-to-measure but crucial issues of women’s rights, empowerment, and long-term generational change – is no small task. Without a doubt, this is a debate to watch.

• This article was amended on 20 May 2011. The original referred to Elaine Zuckerman as an economist from the World Bank’s independent evaluation group. This has been corrected.

See original article here, http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/poverty-matters/2011/may/18/difficult-issue-gender-economics

 

“Cost of gender gap put at $195b”,but still too much focus on flexibility and not enough on economic and political policy change

Cost of gender gap put at $195b

March 9, 2013

Copyright © 2013 Fairfax Media

Another unfavourable and I think unhelpful comment in this article that focuses only on the key issues of childcare and workplace flexibility.  It is limiting and makes women sound like special cases instead of addressing the real issues of centuries of legislation that created an unequal gendered workplace.

In the article, this quote “Diversity strategy and compliance expert Prue Gilbert from Prue Gilbert Consulting said the key focuses for government should be childcare and workplace flexibility.”  is one that I think is unfavourable and unhelpful.  More than just focusing on these issues we need [Australian] government policy changes that assist and encourage ‘families’ and single parents to return to the workforce without losing key financial incentives.  Many parents suffer from increasing tax burdens on second income’s and reductions in child care subsidies making a return to work less attractive financially for those wishing to return to work.  Many older female workers (over 40) are finding it difficult to stay in, or return to the workforce because of the stigma’s of agism and the traditional feminized role that some of these women may have held in previous positions that makes the cost of this experience harder to complete with less expensive younger workers.  So again, lets not just put it all down to flexibility and childcare, this is a complex issue that has taken many centuries of legislation to embed itself and needs to now be dismantled bit by bit.  I am not saying that flexibility and childcare arn’t important, they are, but they are only part of the issue.

However the article does point out some salient facts that if we do manage to keep more women in the workforce there are significant implications for the economy.

“Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that female participation in the workforce fell in the 15-to-19, 20-to-24 and 45-to-54 age brackets over the past three years.

Figures compiled exclusively for The Saturday Age by Goldman Sachs reveal that in dollar terms this equates to an estimated $33 billion in GDP foregone between now and 2016. ”Lifting female participation is one way to do this and, given the politics around immigration, it is the most politically expedient path. It also utilises a highly educated resource that Australia has already invested in,” he said.

Shadow minister for finance Andrew Robb said the analysis, while sobering, showed there was enormous potential to materially boost female participation with the right policies.”

http://www.theage.com.au/national/cost-of-gender-gap-put-at-195b-20130308-2fr6n.html