The Price of Sexism

Posted by M ws On Saturday, January 19, 2013 0 comments
Recently, Bloomberg featured William Pesek's article on Sexism’s $89 Billion Price Is Past Sell-By Date for Asia. This very well-written article emphasizes how growth and prosperity hang on gender equality. Apart from giving a meticulous overview of the Asian female paradox, it also considers the various challenges faced by Park Geun Hye, the daughter of dictator Park Chung-hee who narrowly beat liberal Moon Jae-in the December 19 2012 election that has fired national imagination.

Excerpt from that article:

What is it with Asia’s female paradox?

Asia leads the globe in the number of years women have ruled. For all the excitement about Hillary Clinton perhaps running for U.S. president in 2016, female leaders are old hat in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Soong Ching Ling led China briefly on more than one occasion and, while she never took office, Aung San Suu Kyi was elected leader of Myanmar in 1990.
It is puzzling, then, that Asia also is up there among the world leaders in gender discrimination all at the price of growth. The United Nations estimates that limiting female employment costs Asia $89 billion a year in lost output. A region struggling to raise many of its 3 billion people out of poverty squanders roughly the annual gross domestic product of Slovakia because it favors men. How dumb is that?

Gender Equality

“Economic development correlates positively with gender equality,” said Astrid Tuminez, vice dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore.

South Korea’s 50 million people may be ready for a female leader even though the nation’s gender rankings are dreadful. The pay gap is the worst among Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development members -- 39 percent in 2010, more than double the OECD average of 15 percent. The World Economic Forum ranks South Korea 108th in gender equality of 135 countries, trailing the United Arab Emirates, Burkina Faso and Cambodia.

Japan isn’t much better. The WEF places it behind Indonesia and Azerbaijan. In the lead-up to the Dec. 16 Japanese election, there was no discussion of how ignoring half of the labor force hurts growth and deepens deflation. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. estimates that if Japan’s female employment rate matched men (about 80 percent), gross domestic product would get a 15 percent boost.

In China and India, it’s a challenge for women to be born at all. A cultural preference for boys and scientific advances increasing the number of sex-selection abortions are causing dangerous demographic imbalances.
Why the disconnect between female leaders and social and economic advancement? In a report titled “Rising to the Top?” Tuminez points to Asia’s dynastic traditions. Women often attain power on account of who their fathers, husbands or family are. Here, think Sonia Gandhi in India, Megawati Soekarnoputri in Indonesia, Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan, Corazon Aquino and Gloria Arroyo in the Philippines, Yingluck Shinawatra in Thailand and Park in South Korea.

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If you have time, please CLICK HERE to read Park Geun-hye could dip into national pension premiums to fulfill election promise

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