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The Economic Case for Gender Equality Mark Smith Grenoble Ecole de Management 8 March 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "The Economic Case for Gender Equality Mark Smith Grenoble Ecole de Management 8 March 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Economic Case for Gender Equality Mark Smith Grenoble Ecole de Management 8 March 2011

2  Background Over thirty years of equality legislation in the European Union  combination of hard and soft approaches to promote gender equality Gender Equality widely accepted as socially important goal but also viewed as…  not necessarily in line with economic goals  a constraint or a cost  a societal choice or preference Need to recognise the costs of non-equality and the positive economic contribution of gender equality

3  An Economic Case Gender Equality can be viewed as an investment  a productive factor that can be leveraged  exploit full productive potential of the labour force An ‘Economic Case’ develops the ‘Business Case’  encompassing all organisations  economic merits at a national or regional level Sharing the investment in, and the benefits of, Gender Equality An economic case as a complement rather than replacement to the moral case

4  Gender Equality and Growth Women make the difference when we focus on employment rates Productive use of women’s investment in education and human capital  Utilisation of all human capital investments  Access to full range of skills - address shortages  Returns on personal investment in human capital Gender equality as contributor to GDP  closing gap with competitor nations and regions  higher productivity through avoidance of skill loss

5  Gender Equality for Sustainable Populations and States Sustainable regions sustainable populations through the positive relationship between female employment and fertility address rising dependency ratios and ageing populations Integration of informal work recognising the value of unpaid and informal work positive contribution of tax and social contributions modern fiscal systems that avoid perverse thresholds for job creation and/or household disincentives Integration into employment more than covers investment in social infrastructure

6  Economic Case: a summary Participation GrowthFertilityFiscal MacroEmployment rates, Utilisation of investment in education system Investing in a productive labour force Reduced poverty/social exclusion Sustainable populations Funding and sustainability Meso Utilisation of Human resources Access to full range of skills skill diversity avoid skill loss Work life balance policies supporting retention Avoidance of perverse tax thresholds MicroReturn on personal investment in human capital domestic division of labour Reduce social risks and personal costs of inequality Individual rights, individual employment preferences Taxation without perverse disincentives Receive benefits on work done Rights for non- standard workers

7  Looking Forward with the Economic Case Gender equality can be viewed as …  an investment and not a cost  a productive factor not a constraint Investment in social infrastructure  to reap rewards of investment in human capital  akin to investment in physical infrastructure These benefits of equality expand when we move beyond GDP as a measure of progress  quality of life, well being, child poverty, etc. Gender equality central to economic development and sustainability

8  > 8 One step forward, one step back? Factors Leveraging Equality Benefits Macro policies to expand access to employment gender-based Targets gender mainstreaming obligations Meso organisational innovations (WLB, retention) progress in organisation hierarchies Micro Improved education attainment more continuous participation shorter and fewer career breaks Factors Limiting Equality Benefits Macro lack of gender mainstreaming economic policy short-term crisis responses public sector cuts Meso segregation occupations women’s concentration in low-paid work Micro unequal division of care and unpaid work limited support for carers

9  A time to underline the economic case Progress under threat…  Exit Strategies from the recession risk a reduced focus on gender equality goals and thus economic benefits  Risk of trying to turn back the clock on gender equality  Long-term challenges remain for European societies Making the case  Importance of gender mainstreaming policies  Promoting coherent social and economic policy  Drawing on the potential contribution from the whole population > 9

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