This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Thursday, March 8, 2018

Empowering Women: Show Me the Money!

It is too bad that we have to have a single day to try to remind the world that women are at least as important as men. Of all the things that are being written about and discussed on this International Women's Day, my view is that money is the most important. When people are equally compensated, society is sending the obvious message that they are, in fact, equal. My older son, John, is Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behavior at IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland--a point I make not simply to brag, but to note that he knows what is required to get organizations to wipe out the gender pay gap. He sent me a link to a very informative story on this score from today's Financial Times. Here's what's going on in France:
Emmanuel Macron’s feminist activism is expected to extend further into the realm of business this month, when the French president outlines a plan to close the country’s 25 per cent gender pay gap. It is high time: Mr Macron, who has chosen the fight for gender equality as the “grande cause nationale” of his presidency, is the first French leader in three decades to show a willingness to tackle a problem that even the country’s feminists have long ignored.
Some companies have been creative in addressing the question, says Ms Trostiansky, a former diversity manager at Crédit Agricole, France’s largest retail banking group. For the past 10 years, LCL, formerly Crédit Lyonnais and now part of Crédit Agricole, has been closely monitoring its pay gap to smooth out abnormal differences. The bank is doing so by using several metrics to correct biases. Not only must individual bonuses and pay increases be the same on average for women and men, but also the number of women benefiting from pay increases must at least equal the number of men receiving a rise.
So, these and other examples in the Financial Times story help provide a road map for improving the income levels of women relative to men. Over time, of course, more money can lead to more wealth. There is still a lot of ground to be made up there, as today's Economist points out in a story comparing the wealthiest men and women in the world:

The top 10 richest humans are all men, 7 of whom are American. We have to get down to #16 to find the wealthiest woman, Alice Walton (of Walmart fame), who is also American. Yes, there's still a lot of work to do!

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