September 22, 2011 by Ilene H. Lang
Women represent 40% of the world’s labor force yet hold 1% of the world’s wealth—does this seem fair to you? The latest World Bank report on gender equality and development paints a dark picture of global inequities across health, wealth and education. Find out the latest World Bank statistics, plus the demise of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” and the pervasive “think-leader-think-male” mentality, in today’s C This.
Leaks in the Indian Pipeline
A recent study of 21 large multinational companies across Asia found that India has the largest percentage of women dropping out of the workforce—with 50% attrition rates among women moving from junior to middle level. Some experts blame India’s high rate of so-called “daughterly guilt”—societal pressure to take care of elderly parents or in-laws.
Where Women Rule
Using five metrics—Justice, Health, Education, Economics and Politics—Newsweek determined the best and worst places to be a woman. Nordic countries top the list while many Middle Eastern and African states hang at the bottom. Surprises include Canada, which ranks third best overall but 26th in Politics, behind countries like Burundi, Brunei and Cuba.
Where We’re At
The World Bank’s latest survey of gender inequality around the world contains an array of troubling statistics, as well as a few bright spots. Women account for more than half of university students worldwide, yet still lag men in health and wealth. “On the one hand, the enrollment of girls and young women in schools and universities and the participation of women in the labor force have increased in most of the developing world. And in many countries, such as Bangladesh and Colombia, at a pace much more rapid than was the case in the U.S during the 19th century,” said World Bank’s Sudhir Shetty in a press release. “On the other hand, gender disparities remain stubbornly large in most countries if earnings gaps, excess deaths of girls and women, and the representation of women in leadership positions in government and business are the focus.”
On Tuesday at 12:01 AM, the decades-old military provision mandating that LGBT soldiers “don’t ask, don’t tell” was officially rescinded. “Our nation will finally close the door on a fundamental unfairness for gays and lesbians, and indeed affirm equality for all Americans,” said House of Representatives Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, an advocate for the policy change.
Think Leader Think Male?
Stereotypes around leadership attributes are alive and well in the UK. A recent Oxford Brookes University study of middle-to-senior managers found that staff rated women higher than men, but bosses rated men higher than women! “A major problem for women is that they simply don't look like the notion of a leader, because leaders look like men,” said Beverly Alimo-Metcalfe, chief executive of the Real World Group, a corporate coaching and research firm.
It does make a difference if a woman is in charge. A new report by Corporate Women Directors International found that companies with a woman CEO have twice as many women in management and double the number of women board members as companies with a man CEO. These findings compliment previous Catalyst research showing a positive correlation between the percentage of women board directors in the past and the percentage of women corporate officers in the future.