I think we can all agree that women having children is essential to the ongoing health of civilization – any civilization. No more children means no more human race. At the same time, adding more women to the workforce produces dramatic economic benefits. A Booz & Co. study estimated, for example, “that if female employment rates were to match male rates in the United States, overall GDP would rise by 5%. In Japan, such initiatives could increase GDP by 9%. In developing economies, the effect soars into the double digits.” Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sees an increase in women’s participation in the workforce as the key to helping Japan’s economy out of the stagnation trap it has been in for decades.
So the question then is, for US women, why is it so hard to both work and have children? Out of 185 countries, only the US and Papua New Guinea don’t have paid maternity leave. And I am not suggesting we go to extreme European length leaves, but companies with paid leave programs have decreased attrition for women with children by up to 50%. Given how costly it is to bring on and train new staff, this has to be a win/win for everyone. Claire Cain Miller takes on this topic in her article that can be found here:http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/10/upshot/can-family-leave-policies-be-too-generous-it-seems-so.html
And while we are on the subject of women and economic opportunity, it seems that men and women are far apart on their views on the economy and economic opportunity, and this could help shape the midterm elections. From ‘this is so obvious’ file, is it any wonder that women, who make up 51% of the population, now head four in 10 American households with children under age 18 as either the sole or primary earner for her family, and are paid 77% of what their male counterparts earn feel like economic opportunity is beyond their grasp? Janet Hook’s article makes for interesting reading: http://online.wsj.com/articles/male-female-split-on-economic-issues-promises-to-shape-midterm-elections-1407352003?KEYWORDS=janet+hook
Lastly, from the ‘common sense’ file, there was a great article on the watchdog work economist Anat Admati is doing on the best way to strengthen the US financial system. Her argument is reminiscent of the principles of the Glass-Steagall Act which mandated a simple, yet elegant premise: the most effective way to control risk is not to let someone gamble with other people’s money. Binyamin Appelbaum’s article makes for good reading: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/10/business/when-she-talks-banks-shudder.html?_r=0
We have some outstanding events lined up for you this Fall. Our committees have really outdone themselves, and we all owe them a huge vote of thanks for their work! Take a look at our Upcoming Events lineup. Many events are space limited, so please register early to avoid disappointment!
We look forward to seeing you all at an event soon!