I began the talk by pointing out the authoritative voices behind the call for the world economic community to engage with empowering women. The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations, the International Finance Corporation are joined by major corporates such as ExxonMobil, Walmart, Coca-Cola, and Goldman Sachs. NGOs small and large (CARE, Plan, Cherie Blair Foundation for Women) are strongly engaged.
Much of the impetus comes from analyzing the global datasets we now have that document conditions for women around the world. These data show that gender inequality is real, measurable, and has massively negative effects on a wide range of phenomena from national prosperity to human trafficking to the disease burden. While there are many, many reasons to support women’s economic empowerment, I chose three broadscale reasons to show how huge the impact would be–with implications for every nation and every citizen, whether male or female, rich or poor. These three good reasons are: (1) to reduce poverty and hostility, especially in the poorest nations, (2) to counter the real threat to growth posed by declining fertility, and (3) to improve governance and transparency of the private sector, while reducing risk.
People at universities and think tanks have been tinkering with interventions and studies designed to test the interrelationships. The situation is complex, with effects running across domains. In this short video clip, I explain how a single intervention on behalf of women can have multiple effects, rippling through societies with the benefits.
Various experiments across a number of years have changed the consensus among those working internationally with the whole phenomenon of women’s empowerment: the common thinking at this point is that the causation runs counter to what was first thought. That is, rather than believing that rich nations could afford to set their women free, we now believe that setting women free made the rich nations prosper.
We can see this effect at work as we turn to the “first good reason,” reducing poverty and hostility. Please continue to the next post.
All the “Three Good Reasons” posts can also be accessed here: