“Angela Merkel shows very masculine values”
MADRID, 8th March 2017. Despite being a woman, Angela Merkel shows very masculine values, such as a strong character and physical superiority, which are very linked to the dominant economic system. By contrast, feminin values, which are shared by the new economy movements, are more associated with being a team player, caring for people and the environment, empathy and intuition. And these differences are actually the main reasons why women are such an important driver of change, as Diego Isabel La Moneda, director of the New Economy and Social Innovation Global Forum (NESI Forum), has argued, coinciding with this year’s International Women’s Day. Also cofounder of the Global Hub for the Common Good, La Moneda has said women are key agents in the transition towards an economy that is fairer and focuses on people’s wellbeing.
According to the European Commission, women earn on average 16% less per hour than men; and even 31% less per year, given the higher proportion of female part-timer. And that happens even though women do better at school and university than men. This gender pay gap varies across Europe and is wider than 20% in countries like Germany and Austria. The World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Report 2016 points out that, at the current rate of change, the economic gender gap will not be closed for another 170 years.
In this context, German architect and an expert in bio-construction Petra Jebens-Zirkel advocates for positive discrimination in the workplace: “When a man and a woman have got the same skills and qualification for a job, we could think of offering it to the woman first to promote gender equality.”
África García Zanella, an international economist and gender expert, and CEO of the Centre for Sustainability and Gender Economics(CSGE -Spain), agrees with her. “Women have always worked. Since Prehistoric times, they have been responsible for all the housework and, during World War II, they become a key part of the workforce”, García Zanella highlights. She thinks governments should work to encourage and guarantee gender equality and suggests regulations could keep a closer eye on medium and small size enterprises since this type of organisations play a key role in promoting employment and work-life balance. In the future, she believes, “women will re-enter the labor market when they reach their 50s, maybe as part-time workers.”
Paloma García López is director of the sustainable fashion project Circular Project. For 4 years, her initiative has been demonstrating it is possible for a business to be profitable and economically sustainable while having a positive social and environmental impact. This is especially important in the fashion industry where “women still account for 90% of employees but high management positions are held by men.” She thinks this gender gap can only be narrowed with government’s support: “Nowadays, as a woman, you cannot be an entrepreneur because it is hard to achieve work-life balance; and, if you decide to try and be a business person and a mother, you will not find any type of financial support. This should change.”
These are just some of the ideas that will be discussed at NESI Forum, on 19th-20th April 2017, in Málaga, Spain. Enterpreneurs and business women such as Tessa Wernink, cofounder of Fairphone, Eliza Anyangwe, from The Guardian, and Katherine Trebeck, Senior Researcher for Oxfam GB, will share their experiences and propose new ways to tackle the key challenges of our time.
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NOTES FOR EDITORS
NESI Forum is the only Global Forum on New Economy and Social Innovation, which brings together the main actors of change and opinion leaders to think, talk and lay the foundations of a new economy – more sustainable, social, based on values and aimed at the common good. It will gather 900 speakers, opinion leaders and change-makers from all over the world in Malaga, Spain, on 19th-22th April, 2016.
NESI is supported by the Global Hub for the Common Good Foundation, a think-tank with international experts, created in 2015 with the vision of boosting a new social, economic and political model geared towards the common good.
More information on www.neweconomyforum.org
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