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.”




China’s one child policy major risk to economy

China‘s demographic has changed dramatically since it introduced its one child policy (the trend for sexual selection with many female children aborted in preference to male children) in 1976 in a bid to increase its chances of economic growth.

In 2004 this article from World News predicted that:

“In eight to 10 years, we will have something like 40 to 60 million missing women,” he said, adding that it will have “enormous implications” for China’s prostitution industry and human trafficking.”

The concern about human trafficking refers to the practice of men potentially trying to ‘buy’ a wife, and with competition so fierce women have become a valuable commodity, but not for the right reasons.  China is now realising that there are not enough women to sustain the nation heading into the future.  The lack of women as a result of China’s one child policy and parents preference for boy children now has serious impacts on a the ability to marry, with men already outnumbering women some say by as much as 35 million.

A significant issue that China’s child bearing capacity into the future will be severely limited and could lead to factory farms where women are inseminated as breeders instead of having the freedom to take part freely in the development of their the country.  It is also feared that low-income young men will turn to violence in a bid to secure a female.  Worse still is the potential for a grossly male dominated driven agenda that could further marginalise and limit gender balance from women.

The traditional feminised workforce  of carer’s and support workers, ( traditionally female) are now in short supply and the fear is that as China heads into the future this largely unpaid carer workforce will be much reduced putting further pressure on their economy.

The result is an impact on the economy based on earlier gender biased polices that highly valued one gender over the other and this has resulted in short-term gain with China’s economic boom, but there are serious problems in the future if the one child policies are not changed.


The Shanghaiist

Gender economics in the Guardian Saturday 10 July 2010

Women suffer more than most when government cuts budgets.   The impact is greater on women, as there are larger numbers of women who are unpaid carers, or work in casual lower paid work.   They are hardest hit by cuts to transport and support services when they occur.  In reality, most will work longer hours to make up the deficit in one way or another.  Whether that be overtime to increase wages or ferrying those in their care to support services using their own private vehicles instead of public transport.

Sadly, the real impact of this extra burden won’t be measured as much of it will be done outside working hours by unpaid carers, or as extra effort over and above paid working time.

[read the article]