Arquivo de etiquetas: Desigualdade Social

Human Rights and Gender Equality V

Gender Inequity 

Social inclusion is a challenge across groups racial groups, ethnic groups, linguistic groups. It’s a challenge across classes, especially when market forces and politics combine to widen the gap between the rich and the poor. And it is from time immemorial been a challenge, across the gender. Because from traditional societies until today in most parts of the world, women have faced massive barriers to their effective participation in the economy. To careers, to earning a living. To the right to own and inherit property, or to start businesses. Often this discrimination has been, legally imprinted, it’s in the books, in other words. Often it has been cultural barriers. Fortunately, this is changing and changing fast in many parts of the world. indeed, my own experience working in poor villages, in remote areas that are known to be traditional patriarchal communities where the men are in charge. Even in such places, one can observe dramatic social change before one’s eyes, where villages that, up until recent years, never contemplated that a young girl would complete a primary education and go on to secondary school are now actively pursuing, when given the opportunity, the education of their girls, not only through secondary school, but of young women into higher education, and then coming back as leaders of communities. And this in places with the reputation of being highly discriminatory in practice. So, we’re in an environment of flux, where age old practices of discrimination against girls and women are changing. Where ideas are changing, where economic demands are changing. And where economic possibilities for girls and women are changing in the right direction. Our purpose in sustainable development is to help that process to help insure that  societies make all opportunities open to girls and, and to women and thereby dramatically to improve their economic performance. Often this is a key step out of poverty. Often it’s a key step to overall sustainable development because when girls are educated, when women are empowered, many very important and powerful and wonderful things happen in society. That help not only the economic development and social equality, but also the environmental sustainability. And of course, the quality of governance in society. All of the aspects of sustainable development. The Millennium development goals, took on gender equality in a quite strong and direct way, MDG3, says that the goal was to promote gender equality, and empower women. And the specific target attached to that is in the education sector. To eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005, and in all levels of education no later than 2015. And this should be measured by the enrollment rates and the completion rates of girls compared to boys, and primary secondary and higher ducation. Let me emphasize the many many gains that will be achieved by honoring and fulfilling MDG3. First, of course is human rights. This is a basic question of human rights. Back in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights, as well as the International Covenant on Civil and Political rights. The rights of, girls and women are protected, absolutely as clearly and strongly as the, the rights of, boys and men. Gender equality is at the core of universal human rights from the very start. But the economic gains the practical implications of this, are enormously strong as well. And that’s why Jeremy Bentham, with his Utilitarian philosophy of the greatest good for the greatest number, would be the first champion of gender equality. Because, Jeremy Bentham’s utilitarian calculation would be very very clear that, it can’t work for society, as a whole to try to operate on half its brain power, half its human potential, half its investments in skills, training, and know-how. So the returns to investing in girls and women from a, quote unquote human capital point on view, the productivity of women in any sector of the economy, whether they’re farmers or workers in industry or workers, workers in the service sector. Of course, is greatly enhanced, as it is for men by more education, better literacy, numeracy,and advanced skills. But when investing in women, there’s a, an added dimension that is extremely important. Women are biologically and socially the main caregivers of children in the family. Of course, that’s a, a bit of a social phenomenon, but it’s also a very real phenomenon naturally, because the health of the mother in pregnancy, for example, is absolutely pivotal for the well being throughout the lifetime of of, of the child. We’re learning how intrauterine development, what happens to the, the fetus during pregnancy, can create the conditions for health or ill health throughout the, the entire subsequent, life. So if a mother faces discrimination, if she’s not eating properly, if she is not literate and able to secure access to antenatal care for example, the consequences can be devastating for the child. Of course, the mother then by best health practice, will be the exclusive provider of nutrition for the newborn for the first 6 months in breast feeding. And will play an important role of breast feeding and a complementary feeding basis, for another year or year and a half after that. Say for, the period from 6 months to 2 years. And so the mother’s health, her well-being, her knowledge of how to take care of the child is absolutely essential to the well being of the next generation. Invest in a girl, you’re investing in a mother. Investing in a mother, you’re investing in a child’s wellbeing in the next generation.  You are thereby having a fundamental role in intergenerational social mobility. And so that’s an added, decisive reason why gender equality is so essential, and why gender discrimination, discrimination against girls and women, has such a pernicious effect on societies, causing one of the most profound reasons why they may remain stuck in extreme poverty. We’ve also noted that, as the woman is empowered with more skills, as she is therefore enabled to enter the labor force, earn a decent income. It will be very much expected on a variety of reasons for the mother to have fewer children. To have a voluntary, rather quick reduction of the total fertility rate. One thing is that the woman herself will be empowered within the household. Sometimes, there’s a difference of opinion between the the, the mother and the father about how many children. The father says, as many as possible. The mother says, I’d rather have fewer, but in many traditional societies, the mother’s voice is very weak, in that negotiation if it even is a negotiation. But more importantly, both the husband and the wife very often agree completely, that if the mother is with skills, with education, especially, able to be in the labor force earning a decent income, then the opportunity cost of having more children is very, very high. The time taken out to raise the child may be very expensive in terms of lost income, and then it’s not a difference between the father and the mother, but rather an, an alliance of views that say, better to have fewer children, to invest more in the health, nutrition and education of that smaller family, and we’ve seen for so many reasons why that’s a better deal for the children themselves, and a better deal for the society in accelerating the end of extreme poverty. And in combining the economic development with the social inclusion in that next generation. We have new tools very good ones, and ever-improving tools to assess the state of gender inequality, and to make comparisons across societies in ways that can give good direction and impetus to societies to to do better.

751The United Nations development program beginning in 2010, has began to construct a Gender Inequality Index, which is a, a very handy and useful tool, like its Human Development Index, the Gender Inequality Index combines several different dimensions on a weighted average basis to give a Quantified Assessment of gender inequality that can be compared across countries. In this index, there are 3 different categories that are included. First, reproductive health. If mothers face very adverse conditions in, reproduction, then this is scored as a high degree of gender inequality. Two sub-categories to reproductive health, one is the maternal mortality rate. That is the rate at which mothers die in child birth or pregnancy, more generally. And the second is the adolescent fertility rate. The rate at which adolescent girls are bearing children. An indication of girls being forced out of their education into early marriage, and early child bearing. The second big category in the gender inequality index is, empowerment. And this is measured 2 ways in the index. One is by the share of total parliamentary seats, held by women. And the second is by the enrollment rates of women in higher education. In the third big category, of the gender inequality index is the measure of inequality of labor market participation. In some societies till today, women are simply not allowed to work in many sectors of the economy. This is especially true in the Middle East. Where women even very educated women, can’t work with men alongside them, or, are not allowed to work at all in particular sectors of the economy. In other places, labor force participation by women is very, very high. Public Policy plays a role here, not only in barring or allowing women to participate in particular sectors, but also in facilitating that participation. In Scandinavian countries, for example, with the social democratic ethos and the social welfare state. Every woman is afforded the right to have access for their child, in a quality daycare, financed by the state. And that enables mothers, even poor mothers who might otherwise not be able to afford the child care, to leave the children with the high confidence in a, a very safe  preschool environment, and often a preschool environment which does an excellent job of helping to prepare that young child for primary school education. Well, the result of putting together these 3 factors of reproductive health, of empowerment, and labor force participation, gives us a world map that you see in, in front of you. And the color code, as always, gives us an indication of the relative rankings of, of countries. What you can see is that, again, not surprisingly, because we’ve seen it again and again, northern Europe, and especially Scandinavia, Sweden, and Norway, Denmark, stand right at the top of, of the world league tables, in having the lowest gender inequality. A strong   representation of women in parliament, very high labor force participation, excellent coverage of reproductive health services. Then you have many countries that are a bit in the middle of the pack, still high. But not as high as Scandinavia. My own country, the United States is an example of that where conditions are relatively good on a global basis, and this is after decades of improvements of the legal status and the social status of women in the society and in the labor force. And then there are countries that are clearly places where girls and women continue to face a tremendous amount of discrimination. And you see this in West Africa, where the index scores are low.

752And you see it especially in the places where the inequality ranks the highest. This is in the Middle East and in West Asia. Typically societies, Islamic societies where women are not allowed to have an economic role where strict separation by gender is often enforced. As in many aspects of Saudi society. And where women’s participation in the political process is extremely low. so, this gender inequality index is rather vivid, in highlighting on a multidimensional basis, where progress has been high, and where progress is still very much needed if society is to reap the benefits of gender equality. We can see in more detailed way, the underlying factors in this index. Shown here is the participation rate by women in parliament. We know that in much of the world women are not well represented. This is true in a lot of Africa. It’s true in the Middle East. It’s true in large parts of Asia. At the other extreme, again, is the very high representation in northern Europe, and especially in Scandinavia. Remember that Rwanda is a remarkably exciting exception, to the general trends because there’s very very high women’s, representation in the parliament. More than 50%, the very highest in the world. And I think, causally a factor in Rwanda’s, large strides in social progress and social indicators in recent years. The next picture shows the labor force participation, differences across the world. The highest rates of labor force participation again are in the Scandinavian countries with all of the support of the social welfare system.

753The lowest rates are in the Middle East and North Africa, and Western Asia.and, and in South Asia as well, where women are not in the labor force, either for legal or for cultural reasons that anywhere close to the rates in other countries. These are tremendous lost opportunities. I’ve worked in a number of countries in this region. Often households are quite poor. The woman is quite skilled, maybe even with a college education, but not in the labor force, because of the prevailing ideas within the family, that it’s not right for the woman to be out of the house, for example. And I find it a bit frustrating, to see the family and the children suffering poverty, even when the opportunities are there, the skills are there.754

And with both the legal and social empowerment, the women would definitely find opportunities and a very gainful employment. Even in the high income countries where labor force participation has remained higher or has become higher, I should say, because it’s reflected a lot of social change over the last half century, there are still some significant gaps in the earnings of men and women. Women may take time out from the labor market, during child bearing and raising young children and this can cause them to suffer a strong loss of earnings, companies may discriminate saying we’re not going to invest in, in the skills or the promotion of women because we think they’re going to leave to raise families or simply because of social norms. And I’ve been shocked, I have to say, by sometimes what I’ve heard from CEOs in some parts of the world who just assume, them being, they being men, that women do not have a place in top management. But there is progress, and it’s important progress.755

In education, and, I think, with the good impetus of the Millennium Development Goals, there has been a narrowing of the gap at the primary level, the gap has nearly been closed, or has been closed in most parts of the world. Girls in primary school age are in school, they are completing school, they have comparable enrollments to boys. In some parts of the world, the girls have overtaken boys at secondary and tertiary level. This is an exciting development. Sometimes I’m wondering what’s happening to those young men, because they’re dropping out, the girls are staying in university. Latin America, which had a tradition and, and a reputation as a Makismos Society male-oriented is a place where girls have really done very, very well at secondary and tertiary education. And the gaps have been narrowed or fully closed or more, more than cloth closed, in recent years. And this is a, a very exciting development.

What can be done? What should be done when gender inequality is high and society is bearing the heavy cost of that? It’s clear that as always, a multidimensional process needs to be deployed because some of these barriers are legal, some are cultural, some are a matter of tradition and inertia.

Legal reform is often remaining a very important factor. Can women run businesses? Can they own property? Can they inherit property? Shockingly, the answer is often no, still today in the 21st Century.

Women’s representation in politics. Sometimes it’s a matter of women running for office and this becoming a normal practice. Some societies have, added quotas, that say that certain proportion of the votes on a proportional representation list of a party, must be taken by women. And this can have a very powerful effect of changing ideas, changing norms, and changing policies when the women are represented.

Government financial support for families, for maternity leave, for child care, play a huge practical role in the places that have had most success, especially in the Scandinavian context. The rest to the world needs to learn from that example. Early childhood development activities where government ensures childcare, preschool, health and nutrition programs for young children, obviously for boys as well as girls, is a big help for gender equality, because otherwise, the mothers are the caregivers, the mothers that don’t then have the opportunities either to provide the care that their young children need, or to be able to rejoin the labor market.

And finally it bears emphasizing that around the world till today, women face a terrible, terrible unspoken burden of violence. Whether it’s rape and and the kind of violence that once in a while gets reported, or it’s husbands beating wives and we know that this is a part of the real world around the world, UNICEF and other UN agencies have undertaken heroic efforts to bring this kind of violence against women and girls to light. To help advocate and press for changes of laws, and when the laws are on the books but the enforcement is not, to press for proper enforcement, and public leadership so that these laws are taken seriously, and they are enforced. In many traditional societies women were the property of their husbands and the property to beat if that’s how they saw fit. This inhuman approach that is a most fundamental denial of human rights has got to come to an end. It is a core part of gender equality. It is a continuing reality that must be brought to a close.

Human Rights and Gender Equality IV

Forces of Widening Inequalities

Social inclusion means prosperity that is widely shared and we’ve noted that large groups in society, because of the forces of history. Cultural exclusion, violence have entered the 21st century in situations that are often extraordinarily difficult and challenging. We know that women in many parts of the world continue to face. Major barriers to their economic participation, their prosperity, their ability to prosper. Young girls have faced the difficulties of achieving and gaining access to the education. The health that they need for their own well-being as future adults and future citizens in their country. We know also that economic forces putting aside for the moment gender and ethnic divisions. Are also playing a role in widening inequality and undermining social inclusion in many parts of the world. I’d like to focus for a few minutes on the economic and political drivers that are causing larger and larger class differentiation within societies.

741We have at least three fundamental forces that have been playing a role in widening economic inequalities in the United States, in many European countries, and in many of the emerging economies. Around the world. One is the rising gap between high-skilled and low-skilled workers that has resulted from forces of globalization. A second phenomenon is changing technology that is having a differential effect on different Income groups, different classes within society. And the third force is the political system often amplifying the widening inequalities caused by globalization and by technological change. So. Perhaps the useful starting point to understand these changes is a frequently viewed graph. This case for the United States, but one would find similar though perhaps not as stark conditions like this in other places in the world. This is a graph of the premium in income, the extra income, that is earned by college graduates in the United States, relative to high school graduates. So take the population, the labor force that has a four year college degree or higher, could include those with an advanced degree. Look at the earnings of that group. And then compare it with those that have a high school diploma, but not more. And this is what we observe in the case of the United States, from 1973 until the recent decade. What you observe is that for all of this period, having a higher degree, not surprisingly, means more income.

In 1973, a college grad had a 30% premium relative to a holder of a high school diploma as the top level of educational attainment. That actually dipped. During the 1970s so that that premium fell to under 25%. But then from roughly 1979 onward, we see in this graph, that the college wage premium, as it’s called has soared. And has increased to around 45% wage premium compared with a high school degree holder. It’s interesting that, that increase started around 1979, because that’s also a period when many powerful forces of globalization linking together the high-income world and the emerging economies really started to develop.

742So this is a, a puzzle for us. Why did the Gap between those with higher education and those with a high school diploma suddenly widen. What happened? And, I would argue that the three forces that I mentioned, globalization, technological change, and politics have all played an important role. How would globalization work? Well, consider the US suddenly, becoming a trading partner with countries like Mexico or Korea, or Taiwan. Remember those Asian Tigers. Which were the first of the emerging economies in Asia to achieve rapid, economic growth by dint of their export-oriented strategy relative to the U.S. and European market. Or consider the fact that soon after, 1979 China opened its economy to international trade. And opened its border regions in particular to host foreign Companies that would locate in China to produce goods, some of our favorite electronics products for example, to be assembled in China and then reexported to the US and Europe. This kind of globalization is economic integration. Made possible by improvements in technology such as mobile phones, and computer assisted design and manufacturing. Containerization and radically lower transport costs, suddenly put US workers and Chinese workers into the same labor market. Now, the Chinese workers at the time made much less than $1 per hour whereas American workers might have been earning $10 to $20 an hour. And yet suddenly both sets of workers would have the same technologies at their disposal.

743The Chinese workers, after all, would be working in factories using the very machinery, the specifications, often literally the same companies, as the American workers. And so suddenly, the relatively low-skilled Chinese workers, may, maybe with a. A high school education would be using machinery to put together electronics products. Or to cut and sew apparel. Or to make plastic objects, extrusion objects and components of vehicles. That American workers had been employed to do up to that point. This joining of the labor market through the internationalization of the production technologies and the role of multinational companies in bridging. Between the high wage US market and the low wage emerging economies, transformed the labor market globally. In the US, there began a quite significant decline of jobs in traditional manufacturing sectors. The apparel sector, for example, was displaced. Whether to Mexico or the Caribbean, or Honduras, or to East Asian low-wage sites. The electronics assembly industry which used to be part of an integrated electronics operation. Was separated from the R&D base or the the production of the semiconductors themselves so that the relatively lower skill part of the work of assembling. The mother boards of electronics, devices, and household appliances. Could be moved to China, or moved to Vietnam, or to places where the wages were a tenth or a twentieth or a fiftieth of those that might prevail in the U.S. Suddenly the downward pressure on the wages, especially of the relatively lower-skilled workers in the United States. With their High School diplomas suddenly facing competition from abroad became intense. And I think that’s why 1979 is this turnaround time. Deng Xiaoping came to power in China in 1978, threw the Chinese economy into openness and market institutions. And while that took a process of three decades subsequently to build China as the great workshop of the world.

744The dynamics of an integrated global market began to really play a powerful role at that point. And we know in the United States that. The US just about time of 1979 had the peak of its  employment in the manufacturing sector, around 19 million workers. And from 1979 onward there has been a significant decline. Of manufacturing sector employment. A loss of jobs. Partly a displacement to lower wage economies. For those low wage economies, a huge benefit. A key part of the rapid economic growth that is lifting people from abject poverty. By no means a bad thing. But with a real impact, in the high wage labor markets, putting downward pressure on the wages of the relatively lower skilled workers. Now even if it weren’t for globalization, another force certainly is at play. And that is the information revolution, and all that it signifies. Meaning a progressive automation of many production processes, another force leading to higher productivity, but fewer jobs of the traditional sort. In many key sectors. So put China out of mind from the US perspective for a moment. And just think about how technological change has re-made the shop floor of major manufacturing sectors. Automobiles probably being among the most dramatic. I’ve toured many automobile factories. Some absolutely stunning and amazing. One in Japan of Toyota where we entered a very, very large assembly line completely clean. Completely quiet. And almost no workers around. Vehicles were going their merry way until you looked closely, no drivers. Because the vehicles were being directed automatically to deliver components from one place to another. And the whole assembly line all the way down this large cavernous hall. Robots. Very clever. Very sophisticated seemingly tireless robots with the great precision. Reaching into a basket, taking a component, putting it just where it should be on the automobile chassis coming down the assembly line. Next automobile, often of a different make, and the robot knowing through, of course, its programming. To put that component in a somewhat different place on the chassis of a somewhat different vehicle. All remarkably automated. The robotics are one of the most visible, remarkable aspects of the information technology revolution and the computerization revolution. That we are enjoying in the 21st century. It’s raising productivity dramatically it is of course lowering the costs of many, many goods and services. That kind of automation even when it’s not literally a robot handling a physical product. But is simply a computer making massive payrolls or processing orders that thousands of clerks might have done in an earlier day, is part of a modern high productivity economy. But, just like the off-shoring of jobs. It’s taking a toll on workers who used to do exactly that kind of labor. And so technology also drives income differences across countries. And we are seeing the combination of globalization and technological change, in an intertwined way, putting a special pressure on lower skilled workers. We can’t even separate these two phenomena with any precision, though you can image economists have written hundreds of articles, I’ve added a few myself. To the debates how much is globalization, how much is technological change. Well since globalization itself is enabled by the same technological change making a clear difference between the two is not possible analytically. But what is discernible is the fact that this rising wage premium has absolutely come from both of these phenomena. Now, I’ve stressed that there is a third factor that is part of this story, and that is politics. And this is extremely important for us to understand.

Market forces alone would widen inequalities. The wage premium is a real phenomenon coming from the combination of globalization and technological change. What you see in this picture of the income levels by a more detailed classification of educational attainment. Showing that those with an advanced degree have had the biggest gains of earnings. Those with the bachelor degree next. Those with some college, high school, and no diploma basically flat, or even declining income levels, but something more has been at play. When that market inequality starts, starts to rise, politics then enters the scene. In some political systems, government forces would lean against this by saying, well lower skilled workers are facing a problem. They need some extra help. Maybe some new job training. Maybe a cut in their taxes. Maybe added family benefits. High-skilled workers are receiving a bonanza, both because of technological change and because of globalization. And maybe they should receive fewer benefits or pay higher taxes. And in that way, government would, as we say, lean against the wind. If market forces are tending to widen inequality, political forces would tend to narrow it. But in some places, and my own country, the United States is definitely one, political forces amplified the market forces, took a widening inequality, and made it even more. Of a steeply widening inequality as a result of politics, rather than helping the poor and perhaps taxing the rich to do so. In the Unites States, the poor lost even more of their social support as government cut back. And the rich gained government support as their taxes were reduced. Rather extraordinary. And one can even date this, I’ve argued, though some disagree with me, to a specific political event and that starts in my opinion on January 20th, 1981. When Ronald Reagan became President of the United States. And came into office reflecting various political forces which said, that they should implement the libertarian philosophy. Get government out of things. And reduce taxes, reduce social support. The libertarian view does not agree with the basic needs philosophy that everybody’s needs should be represented. The libertarian philosophy more takes the point of view that government should not play a role, that taxes should be cut. That’s argued both on a philosophical base that freedom and liberty are the number one goal. It’s argued on a pragmatic base that, that will free up the dynamism of the entrepreneurs in society and through a kind of trickle-down effect, make everybody better off. But whatever it’s argued in the US, starting in 1981, and really continuing since that time, the rich and powerful have had advantages of politics. Their taxes have been cut. Their even as their wealth has soared they have faced a diminishing share of their income being paid in taxes. Various restraints on their behavior, whether it’s cultural norms that say don’t take so much money or whether it’s practical limitations of how companies operate, have been relaxed. Deregulation in the financial markets for example, enabling the top management of the financial system to pay itself mega bonuses and massive compensation. And so in addition to the market forces suddenly in the United States as well starting in the 1980’s, the incomes, the total compensation package of the. Top management of the big companies, and especially on Wall Street and in the financial companies, began to soar. And so the United States faced not only downward pressures on the low-wage workers, but upward pressures at the very top, what became known in the American. Political parlance as the top 1%, though sometimes it’s even a fraction of that top 1%. The income levels soared, and this is illustrated in a graph showing the ratio of compensation of Chief Executive Officers, CEOs in American companies to average workers. What you see is that that ratio was maybe 10 or 20 times higher in the 1970s, but suddenly, the compensation packages went out of sight. The regulatory constraints, the cultural norms were, went in the direction of saying pay the top everything, let them take huge amounts. And suddenly, these CEOs were earning hundreds of times the income of the workers. And the result is shown in a curve that illustrates the income share taken by the top 1%. Of America’s richest households, the blue curve. And what you see is over the course of a century, the income share was between 15 and 20% up to the time of 1929 when the great depression started. The new deal era of the United States came in, government cracked down on a lot of abuses in the financial sector, for example. And the income share at the top went down sharply. Tax rates faced by the top went up sharply. The income share of the top 1% was around 10% of total income between 1940 and the late 1970s. Still pretty good. 1% of the households taking 10% of the total household income. But then the curve starts straight up and it’s not just market forces doing that because this isn’t observed in this extreme way in almost any other country in the world. It’s politics amplifying the market forces. Reducing the taxes paid at the top as President Reagan did. And as was subsequently confirmed by later administrations. Reducing the political constraints and the regulatory constraints on top managers to take home big take home pay. Suddenly the top income share in the US, the top 1% were taking home 20% of the total household income. And whats quite remarkable is the top of the top of the top, the top 1% of the 1% that is the top .01 % of US households around 12,000 in total because they are, are around a 120 million households. So 1% of those is about 1.2 million households, and 1% of that is about 12,000 households. They are now taking home 5% of the total income of American households, and so the inequality at the top, aided by the political process, also soared. And, in this sense we could say that the challenge of social inclusion is very well illustrated in the US context, though the story up until today is not a very satisfactory one for many, many Americans. On the one hand, market forces have amplified the inequalities. On the other hand, the political system not only did not come to the rescue of the poor, but reacted in a quite stark way. Coming to the backing of the rich. Pulling away some of the social support of the poor. Taking the libertarian view that the Government’s not going to address the issues of inequality. Making it harder rather than easier for society to meet its basic needs. Setting up an even bigger challenge for social inclusion as one of the key pillars of sustainable development. We will look at what can be done in this context because there are ways to reestablish social mobility and social inclusion. But the the political system has to participate in that if those methods of achieving social inclusion are to be effective.