Anyone a Mad Men fan? As we approach #internationalwomensday I’ve been thinking about women in the workplace. Do you think things have changed enough since Joan and Peggy fought for respect and recognition in the fictional 1960s advertising firm? The women in that show faced misogyny, sexism and racism every day, and often had to tolerate it with a smile on their faces in order to keep their jobs.
While many workplaces today are progressive, those challenges still remain around the world. In some countries, like my own, the harassment is still there, subtlely. In many other countries, women are abused and exploited blatantly. Turns not only is that wrong, it’s also bad business.
In an interview with @guardian to mark International Women’s Day, #IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said some countries could boost the size of their economies by 35% if they abandoned discriminatory laws and took advantage of the skills women had to offer.
She said the evidence was that gender empowerment meant “higher growth, a reduction in inequality, an improvement in the strength of the economy and a more diversified, export-focused country”. She said it was taking time for her message that women were good for the economy to get through. She said 88% of countries had restrictions against women in the workplace embedded in the constitution or law. “Some forbid women from doing specific jobs, 59 countries have no laws against sexual harassment in the workplace and there are 18 countries where women can be legally prevented from working.”
IMF researchers found that banks, in particular, would be more stable if there were more women on their boards. “What we have observed is that when there are more women the banks’ capital buffers are larger, the number of non-performing loans is smaller and the risk indices are lower. It is not causality but it is a strong correlation.” Joan knew her value back in the 1960s. You know your value now.
Does your boss?