The Global Gender Gap Report 2012

Download your copy of the report from the World Economic Forum here

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ABOUT GENDER ECONOMICS

Article written by Susanne Moore – The Centre for Gender Economics 1 November 2013

Gender Economics is the fusion of sociology, economics and gender studies and looks at shifting current perceptions of gender and how we use these perceptions in framing economic policy. Very often, it is an intersection of gender, values and beliefs that create policy decisions, many of which are based on outdated models. It is important that we start to understand how economic research is conducted, how the statistical analysis is created and how this flows into policy decisions and ultimately the business bottom line.

“Gender Economics is about “dissecting and creating a new discourse around economic theory that fuses Economics, Gender and Sociology”[1]

Think of a persistent organisational challenge and start to unpick it by looking at the assumptions and environments that created the challenge in the first place, chances are the core of the challenge has been created by imposing outdated business models, values and measurements that no longer work.  Then reframe the challenge by applying new thought paradigms and you may very likely uncover innovations that lead to increases in performance.  Traditional gender stereotypes have shifted and organisations can no longer assume that they are catering to the working heterosexual white male with a wife at home because the ground rules have changed.  According to Wikipedia[2], the US LGBT consumer market in 2013 ‘is estimated to have an overall buying power of more than $835 billion’.  This demonstrates that marketing to this group requires specialisation to reap the benefits of that economy.

Much of our business culture is centuries old from the structures to the drivers, and our organisations must change to keep pace with a global economy where diversity, and cross-cultural management enforce new skills around managing complexity.

In 2009, the Harvard Business Review[3] made the bold statement that “Women now drive the world economy”, and estimated that globally women will control about $20 trillion in annual consumer spending over the next five years.  Look at any social networking site or news stream and you will see articles that recognise that the financial empowerment of women is a game changer.  Businesses must now attract talent from a wider pool, some from necessity, but many recognising that by developing a “Women’s Employer of Choice” reputation, it will ultimately help them increase their competitiveness in the market.  However, it is not as simple as painting women’s issues with a ‘pink’ brush,  organisations must understand the shifts that have taken place in gendered stereotypes and how this sociological change now affects business structures and changes in economic policy formation.

Gender Economics looks at how gender influences economic decisions and how those decisions impact gender.  The way we target gender for economic gain or increased market share can either benefit or degrade the rights of marginalised groups, often leading to policy formation with an underlying gender bias overlaid with a view on how economics, policy and gender interact with society.

This emerging field challenges current economic theory, broadening the conversation to encompasses sociological complexities currently at play in society – ie: we look to deconstruct economic policy, reconstructing it in a manner that allows us to develop rational and objective tracks for further research.  Issues of female inequality have persisted for decades if not centuries and instead of talking about the issues, Gender Economics explores underneath the issue and provides new discourses that have the power to change the way we work and live.  A simple example of Gender Economics and a persistent issue is the gender wage gap in Australia that continues regardless of the amount of effort and talk that goes on.  In 1907 Australia passed a little known policy known as the “Harvester Judgement[4] that saw the start of the pay gap for women in preference to that of the ‘working family man’.  This policy was introduced primarily to give organisations a competitive advantage using cheaper female labour.  This precedent continues today with feminised work segments in organisations exploiting cheaper labour, focusing on scarcity instead of the abundance of leveraging that diversity through innovation[5].

Much of our business culture is centred on the concept of scarcity, of not enough to go around but where did this thinking process start?  Staying competitive by having unique products that differentiate you from the rest of the marketplace can lead to a culture of aggressive competition and cost cutting.  With more organisations becoming lean and agile what if the model moved from one of scarcity to one of ‘abundance’.  What are the attributes of abundance, is it just a mind shift or can we create business models that promote it?  Numerous studies of company board makeup show that the accepted female attributes of sharing and collaboration lead to a richer business environment and higher profits.

Gender Economics is the new Business Transformation, the next major resource, and will open a channel to increased innovation and creativity through Diversity of thought and the ability to maximise the management of our increasingly complex environments.  Organisations that understand that gender balance is the new competitive edge will be better equipped in a global marketplace where women take their place at the decision table.  An increased awareness of women’s economic impact at a country level and greater gender diversity at a company level means women are learning to invest in themselves and their financial future.

There are many persistent gender issue’s that just don’t seem to go away and this is particularly true in areas of gender inequality, and I feel that this is because we so often talk ‘around’ the issues instead of deconstructing them and understanding why they are issues in the first place.  The next steps are to start unpicking current thinking on economics and business, start reframing our thinking, putting age-old issues into new contexts – that is Gender Economics at its core!


[1] Quote by Susanne Moore 2013

[4] MacIntyre, Stuart (1985) ‘A fair wage’ in Winners and Losers: The Pursuit of Social Justice in Australian History, Sydney: Allen & Unwin, Ch.3, pp. 51-58 (excerpt)

[5] Diversity Program Review Framework™, Susanne Moore (2012)

“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

 

“Next step in parental leave is tailoring it to give women best career rebirth”

Some commentary on the new Australian Parental Leave scheme proposed by the new Liberal government.

“Next step in parental leave is tailoring it to give women best career rebirth”

Article from Melissa Grah-McIntosh of the Brisbane Times September 11, 2013

Policies with impact for a productive society”

from Women on Boards (WOB’s)

Pay equity, women in leadership and childcare were the issues nominated as the most important to women in a recent survey of more than 1,000 members of Women on Boards.

Paid Parental Leave (PPL) was ranked the issue of least importance.

The survey was conducted over two weeks by Women on Boards to their database of more than 15,000 professional women with 1095 responses.

The purpose of the survey is to inform the future government, policy makers and the business community of issues impacting on the productivity, leadership potential and economic well being of women in Australia.

WOB Directors, Claire Braund and Ruth Medd, said the survey highlighted the complexity around the inter-related issued of maintaining workforce productivity while enabling employees to contribute to the social economy through parental and other caring responsibilities.

“The issues are complex and it is very clear that single issue policies implemented in isolation will not address the rapidly changing needs of male and female workers, business and society,” Braund and Medd said.”  see the rest of the article here

 

Gender Economics Global Conference Sydney Australia 10-12 June 2014

The inaugural global Gender Economics Conference 2014 will bring together international speakers, leading academics as well as practitioners in the fields of Diversity, Economics, Sociology, Business Investment, Innovation and Leadership. There is an increasing awareness that economists and sociologists should work together in order to advance current thinking and recognise the changing global climate and the increased advancement of women which negates traditional views of gender stereotyping in statistical analysis and policy formation.

Conference Objectives

  • To raise awareness of the emerging field of Gender Economics by linking current gender issues with academic and case study (field) research;
  • To challenge current economic theory, broadening the conversation to encompasses sociological complexities currently at play in society – ie: to deconstruct economic policy, reconstructing it in a manner that allows us to develop rational and objective tracks for further research;
  • To highlight concrete ways that diversity (Diversity Economics) can be a positive impact on economics, and to commence discussions on proactive solutions for measuring this impact;
  • To ensure that the discussion is gender neutral and provides open discourses for inclusion of all genders to further proactive and positive conversations about Gender Economics in the wider community

See more here, http://centreforgendereconomics.org/

 

WIL (Women in Leadership) Economic Forum, China

Susanne Moore

I will be speaking on an expert panel at this conference in Shanghai on the 27 September.  The subject is;

“Does diversity improve financial and managerial performance?”
As the economy becomes increasingly global, our workforce becomes increasingly diverse. D&I is no longer a topic for HR, nor is it more political correctness than business concern. Companies with a higher proportion of women on boards and in leadership positions exhibit a higher degree of organisation, above-average operating margins and higher valuations. However, attracting and retaining more women who meet the challenges of labour markets’ change, engaging men in diversity implementation and calculating economic growth are considered major challenges preventing D&I from succeeding.
This panel discusses how employers can equip women with the desired skills to address specific inclusion challenges through cross-cultural competence. It also covers how employers are supporting women and how this affects overall company performance.

View original post 40 more words

A Solution For A Struggling Global Economy: Gender Equality

Article 10/14/2011 @ 5:06PM |5,063 views

2011 Nobel Prize winner Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf

2011 Nobel Prize winner Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf

By Ritu Sharma and Joe Keefe

“This year’s Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to three women from Africa and the Arab world in acknowledgment of their courageous work promoting peace, democracy and gender equality. In awarding the prize, the Nobel Committee stated that democracy and peace cannot be achieved unless women have the same opportunities and rights as men.

They might have added that without gender equality sustainable economic development cannot be achieved either. In fact, it is no exaggeration to say that women are the key to a global economic recovery.

A few weeks ago, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, chairing the first-ever Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) High-Level Policy Dialogue on Women and the Economy, made this point emphatically: “By increasing women’s participation in the economy and enhancing their efficiency and productivity, we can have a dramatic impact on the competitiveness and growth of our economies.”

In her remarks, Secretary Clinton recounted some of the evidence: The Economist found that the increase in employment of women in developed economies during the past decade contributed more to global growth than did China. In the U.S., a McKinsey study found that women went from holding 37% of all jobs to nearly 48% over the past 40 years, and that the productivity gains attributable to this modest increase in women’s share of the labor market now accounts for approximately 25% of U.S. GDP. That works out to over $3.5 trillion – more than the GDP of Germany and more than half the GDPs of China and Japan.”

TO READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE CLICK HERE

References

http://www.forbes.com/sites/forbeswomanfiles/2011/10/14/a-solution-for-a-struggling-global-economy-gender-equality/

Helping women to start businesses to boost productivity – REBLOGGED

Home / Epaper / China Business Weekly

Helping women to start businesses to boost productivity

Updated: 2013-05-20 07:38

By Chen Jia ( China Daily)
Women working at an automobile component factory in Jiangxi province. According to data from the All-China Women's Federation, China now has more than 30 million female entrepreneurs. They make up 25 percent of all Chinese business leaders. Provided to China Daily

Women working at an automobile component factory in Jiangxi province. According to data from the All-China Women’s Federation, China now has more than 30 million female entrepreneurs. They make up 25 percent of all Chinese business leaders. Provided to China Daily

Zhou Xin, a 27-year-old woman, is expecting to double her company’s annual revenue to 20 million yuan ($3.25 million) this year from 2012 after improving her marketing strategy learned from a business course.

Zhou is the founder and owner of Tianjin Xinkelv Food Co, which produces healthy green and organic foods and develops recipes.

She founded the company in 2009, when she graduated from university, without any business management experience or knowledge.

“All things are difficult before they are easy,” Zhou said. “When I decided to realize the business idea that I formulated when attending the university, I couldn’t find any startup capital.”

After Zhou’s loan application was rejected by banks, she asked for money from a relative.

“As a guarantee, I secretly took the house property ownership certificate from my parents and handed it to the relative. The first loan was 1 billion yuan,” she said.

As a food company, the most difficult time Zhou’s business suffered was in 2011, when many steamed bread producers were mired in a scandal concerning use of colorants.

“Very few customers came to my shop at that time, fearing our products might harm their health,” she said.

Zhou hung a poster outside her shop that stated that if just one product was below the required standard, then refunds would be made on thousands of quality products.

She also invited a food quality inspector to conduct tests on the food she sold.

“The high quality of our food and our honesty has helped to win back the trust of customers. It made me realize the importance of marketing, which I learned from special business training courses,” Zhou said.

The food company’s annual revenue was 1.2 million yuan in 2010. It jumped to 6 million yuan in 2011 and 10 million yuan in 2012.

“Now I understand how important funding and specific training are for entrepreneurs, especially for businesswomen,” Zhou said.

“I became more focused, ambitious and goal-oriented in making strategic decisions after receiving this education.”

Since 2008, Goldman Sachs has invested $100 million to provide 10,000 underserved women around the world with business and management education.

Validated data indicates that, globally, within 30 months of graduation, 83 percent of surveyed graduates increased revenues, 77 percent hired additional employees and 90 percent mentor other women postgraduates.

More than 2,000 women in China have or will be trained through the Goldman Sachs’ global program.

“Investing in women is one of the most effective ways to reduce inequality and facilitate inclusive economic growth,” said Dina Habib Powell, president of the Goldman Sachs Foundation and global head of corporate engagement.”

read the full article here