A world where risk-taking and competition weren’t considered quite so admirable or so male, and where more stereotypically “feminine” traits like cooperation were properly recognized and rewarded, would be better for both women and men.
CGD Policy Blogs
The Women, Business and the Law program at the World Bank has done a wonderful job of cataloguing the thousands of legal restrictions worldwide that constrain women’s abilities to be equal participants in the economy—from legislation mandating women ask a male family member for permission before opening a bank account through rules banning women from certain jobs to unequal property rights. Pairing that data with surveyed outcomes would make it an even more powerful tool.
Globalization of the economic sort is often maligned. But then there is globalism: of norms, values, culture, and attitudes. Are norms and values, even “culture”, being globalized? Is the idea, for example, that women have equal rights, as in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), gaining ground as a universal norm? And might changing norms and values affect legal regimes and behavior (sometimes, maybe)?
Christal Morehouse, Alla Volkova, and Silvia Fierăscu of The Open Society Foundation (OSF) have just issued a fascinating report on the gender breakdown of speakers at 23 high-level conferences across Europe—including nine forums, six conferences, four meetings, three summits, and a games and an ideas lab.
Women’s equality and empowerment is a driver of economic growth and development around the world, and development organizations routinely include and espouse this goal as part of their missions and activities. But if you peel back the curtain, there are serious questions about whether—behind the scenes—development organizations are living up to these values in the workplace.
Last year on International Women’s Day, we talked about labor and financial equality as a prerequisite for women’s empowerment. This year, we’re being a little more introspective. Many nonprofits working in global development advocate for women’s empowerment and gender equality (this one included). But do they follow through when it comes to their own staff and management?
On top of 63 million missing women, a new report from the Indian government reveals an even more pervasive pattern of sexism in recent demographic data—hinting at persistent patriarchal preferences impervious to India's economic boom.
The Canadian government has made some impressive steps towards prioritizing gender and women’s rights in international relations. I’m hoping that’s a sign of momentum towards even bigger steps in the New Year—using the full range of tools from trade and migration policy through investment and aid.
Improving rights for gays and lesbians is a critical human rights issue. Even where it is not illegal, gays and lesbians face violence, discrimination, and social stigma. But our research makes clear that in the developing world as a whole, both laws and attitudes are changing for the better, and that legal change is not only a positive step in itself, but it can also help shift attitudes too.
There is still a considerable global agenda to improve three interlinked components of achieving gender equality—attitudes, laws, and outcomes, particularly in the marketplace—and no time like right now to start.