New Data Release from PWC: Women In Work and Top Feminist Countries in 2019

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  • During the week of International Women’s Day, PWC released the Women in Work 2019 report. Some observations: Iceland is named the most feminist country, Sweden holds second place, and for the first time, New Zealand is number three most feminist country. Iceland took the position again largely, because it has done amazing work lowering the gender pay gap. The three countries that top the list have in common a number of government policies aimed at fostering a more gender-equal workplace and a business community that is more than cooperative. They see the bottom-line advantages of a closing gender gap: Female economic empowerment equals economic growth.

  • The most improved country this year on the list was Ireland, which jumped seven spots from last year based on workforce participation of women. But beyond year-to-year improvements, since 2000, Luxembourg has made the largest improvement in its ranking. Luxembourg, according to the report, has made the most significant improvements to the pay gap, closing it by 11 percentage points. Also, the UK improved slightly, rising from 14th to 13th position on the index; the United States, however, fell two spots to number 22. Women's participation in the labor force remained unchanged at 69% on average across the OECD from 2016 to 2017. The largest short-term gains were observed in Ireland, Slovenia and Estonia. And Since 2000, Poland has seen the most significant reduction in female unemployment, falling from 18% in 2000 to 5% in 2017.

  • China and India are improving, but are still problematic, according to the Women in Work 2019 report. Though India is the world’s largest democracy with a population of 1.339 billion, it has only a startling 9% Female labor force participation rate! Only 8% of Indian women have completed postsecondary education. And China, which has a quarter of the global female workforce has an alarming gender pay gap of 25% “Closing the gender pay gap (in China) would generate a 34% increase in female earnings, equivalent to a $2 trillion boost to female earnings,” the report notes.

  • Further, the report raises many serious points about the long-term gains that could come from a fuller participation of women in the global economy. “The potential long-term economic gains across the OECD from an increase in women in employment amount to a GDP increase of over US $6 trillion. In absolute terms, the US is expected to gain the most, as much as $1.8 trillion, nearly three times as much as the next biggest winner, Italy.” Also, countries like Greece, which still has massive debt, as of 2017, of 178.6% of GDP and a startling 19% unemployment (as of July 2018) could make massive gains with the greater workforce participation of Greek women. “Countries with relatively low female employment rates such as Greece, Mexico and Italy are likely to accrue the largest potential gains in percentage terms,” the report notes. “Increasing the rate of female employment to those in Sweden could generate GDP increases of c.30% for these countries.”

  • Feminism is defined in the Miriam and Webster dictionary as "the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities." USA Today is re-publishing A Feminist Glossary, originally written in 2017 but still solid, defining terms like cisgender, yes-means-yes and non-binary. A good example of the work are the differences between hostile sexism and benevolent sexism. Hostile sexism: The one most people think about. Openly insulting, objectifying and degrading women. And benevolent sexism, is less obvious. It kind of seems like a compliment, while it's rooted in men's feelings of superiority. It's when men say women are worthy of their protection (off the sinking boat first) or that they're more nurturing than men (therefore should raise children). It's restrictive.

  • For International Women’s Day, the New York Times published a piece on Sweden, one of the most feminist countries with the most generous paid maternal leave policy in the world. On the official government website, the country calls itself feminist. One of the ways that the government is pursuing feminist policy is through education. "Gender equality is also part of the solution to society’s challenges and a matter of course in a modern welfare state—for justice and economic development,” writes Maya Salam. “The Government’s most important tool for implementing feminist policy is gender mainstreaming, of which gender-responsive budgeting is an important component.” Read the full article here.

Cover image via Think Pynk