The Great Debate UK

from The Great Debate:

The next emerging market: A billion women

You would never dream of not investing in India. You would never dream of not investing in China. So why wouldn’t you invest in women? That question was posed by Beth Brooke of Ernst & Young at the launch on Wednesday of a campaign called The Third Billion that aims to empower women as a means to drive economic growth. The campaign is based on the notion that there are a billion women not participating in the global economy who should be.

“Every country, every company in the world is looking for growth wherever they can find it,” Brooke said at a panel discussion (which I moderated) at Thomson Reuters headquarters in New York. “Where is the growth coming from? It’s coming from the emerging markets … We historically think of those emerging markets as India and China and many others. But it is clear that women are an emerging market.”

DeAnne Aguirre, senior vice-president at Booz & Company, said the concept of the “Third Billion” comes from the notion that if China and India each represent 1 billion emerging participants in the global marketplace, then a third billion is made up of women around the world whose economic lives have been “stunted, underleveraged or suppressed.”

The figure is based on a Booz & Company analysis of International Labor Organization data on women in the global workforce that showed some 860 million women were excluded for one reason or another, a number forecast to rise to 1 billion in the next decade. (Many of those women are in India and China, of course, so there is overlap with the first and second billions.)

Women’s fortunes in the job market take a turn for the worse

By Kathleen Brooks. The opinions expressed are her own.

Back in early 2009 I was sitting in the library trying to find a new spin on the U.S. financial crisis for a college paper. I trawled through book after book and they all said the same thing. But finally, late into the night, I stumbled upon something fresh in the latest unemployment report.

Jobs had been slashed in the U.S. and unemployment was rising, but interestingly, women were faring better than men. So there was my story. After June’s jobs report I decided to review this phenomenon and find out whether this was really just a male crisis.

from FaithWorld:

Pakistan’s booming female madrassas feed rising intolerance

(Covered Pakistani female madrassa students take part in an anti-government demonstration in Islamabad August 27, 2004 after a government raid in their mosque and Islamic seminary/Mian Khursheed)

Varda is an accountancy student who dreams of working abroad. Dainty and soft-spoken, the 22-year-old aspires to broaden her horizons, but when it comes to Islam, she refuses to question the fundamentalist interpretations offered by clerics and lecturers nationwide.

from FaithWorld:

How will Afghan women fare if Kabul and the Taliban reconcile?

(Schoolgirls listen to a speech by Afghan President Hamid Karzai during a ceremony marking the start of the school year at Amani High School in Kabul March 23, 2011/Omar Sobhani)

The gaggles of giggling schoolgirls in their black uniforms and flowing white hijabs seen across Afghanistan's cities have become symbolic of how far women's rights have come since the austere rule of the Taliban was toppled a decade ago. While women have gained back basic rights in education, voting and work, considered un-Islamic by the Taliban, their plight remains severe and future uncertain as Afghan leaders seek to negotiate with the Taliban as part of their peace talks.

Sarah Brown calls for action against maternal mortality



Sarah Brown is Global Patron of the White Ribbon Alliance and author of Behind the Black Door published by Ebury Publishing on March 3, 2011. Follow her on Twitter @SarahBrownUK The opinions expressed are her own. Thomson Reuters will host an International Women’s Day follow-the-sun live blog on March 8, 2011.

To mark the 100th International Women’s Day it is as good a place as any to start with U.N. Women’s objective to seek a pathway to decent work for women.

Join the quiet revolution – Kristin Davis



Kristin Davis, star of the show and movie Sex and the City, is an Oxfam Global Ambassador. The opinions expressed are her own. Thomson Reuters will host an International Women’s Day follow-the-sun live blog on March 8, 2011.

International Women’s Day is special. In China, women get the day off work. In Bosnia and Italy, women receive gifts of flowers. In Cameroon, women dance in the streets. What will you do to make March 8, a special day?

Women and the science education question



Elisabeth Kelan is a lecturer in the Department of Management at King’s College London. The opinions expressed are her own. Thomson Reuters will host an International Women’s Day follow-the-sun live blog on March 8, 2011.

Earlier this year, research indicated that few of the contributors to online encyclopedia Wikipedia are women.

What do women want?



Vicki Hazelden is the managing partner of international law firm Walkers’ Dublin and London offices. The opinions expressed are her own. Thomson Reuters will host an International Women’s Day follow-the-sun live blog on March 8, 2011.

Men have been asking themselves this question for generations. Are women happier when we stay at home with our children or does fulfilment lie with a nanny, a grown-up career and our own earning power?  To my surprise I’ve turned out to be one of those “career women” the news media talk about and I’m not sure I know the answer. I don’t think I am alone.

The absence of women in senior positions – a ‘wicked’ problem



Savita Kumra is a senior lecturer at Brunel Business School. The opinions expressed are her own. Thomson Reuters will host a follow-the-sun live blog on March 8, 2011 to mark the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day.

I’m not sure if it’s just me, but I get a feeling of déjà vu every time I see a headline decrying the lack of women on FTSE boards. Most recently, focus has been on the dearth of female non-executive directors on such boards and the solution of choice seems to be a number of organizations springing up to ‘mentor’ women so they are ready and able to take up these positions when the call comes.

The future is female? A re-traditionalisation of gender



Ruth Simpson is professor in management at Brunel Business School in West London and founding member of the Centre for Research in Emotion Work and Employment Studies. The opinions expressed are her own. Thomson Reuters is hosting a live blog for the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day on March 8, 2011.

Are we in a post-feminist era or are conventional images of masculinity and femininity re-surfacing in society? I argue that rather than gender disadvantage being a thing of the past, as captured in understandings of post-feminism, gender is becoming more entrenched. In fact post-feminism itself – the belief that sexism is over – has allowed renewed disadvantage to emerge.