How to Accelerate Female Economic Empowerment - Patricia Golden Webb

Although steps towards improving gender rights for women have accelerated, women are still disproportionately facing more economic burdens. Especially with the effects of the pandemic, caretaking responsibilities have been heavily placed on women, causing them to withdra from the labor force. “The decline in female labor force participation catalysed what the IMF ahs referred to as a ‘She-cession.’ The UN posits that an estimated 47 million women have been pushed to extreme poverty.” I recently read an article published by the World Economic Forum titled Stocks on Mars and Savings Accounts on Venus? How to Accelerate Female Economic Empowerment which outlines how to empower women and the significance of doing so.

How ESG investments could benefit female economic empowerment:

In ESG policy and investment, there is a renewed focus on improving gender parity specifically in the boardroom and on executive management teams. In order to do so, closing the wealth gap between men and women is the first step to providing women more opportunities. “As more and more women enter the labor force; as protocols and quotas are expanded to include more females on executive teams and boards; and amidst growing efforts to achieve parity in pay, women are more likely to accumulate wealth over time.” Some factors hindering a level playing field for women are uneven access to credit, barriers to female entrepreneurship, unbalanced venture capital funding, lack of ownership of business assets, and the pension gap. While there is much more progress towards achieving gender equality, these issues provides a great opportunity for governments, organizations, and investors to fulfill the ‘S’ and ‘G’ pillars of ESG.

Closing the confidence gap: Yes, she can:

“Empirical data also shows that women often suffer from a confidence gap in measuring their own performance, vis-a-vis men. Researchers found a ‘large gender gap in self-promotion,’ which is ‘persistent’ and emerges as early as the 6th grade.” These lower confidence levels of women is an indicating factor in wealth inequality. Women are lagging behind in financial literacy which is causing their participation in stock markets to drop. “In efforts to address these gaps, measures have been taken by women working with one another, by offering services to improve financial literacy and to provide insights on investing.” Women empowering women helps to build confidence in the power of women.

Reimagining female entrepreneurship:

The unbalanced playing field between men and women is revealed by the lack of female representation in entrepreneurship: “In the US, 75% of venture capital firms do not have any female partners.” To increase valuable opportunities for women, there needs to be higher numbers of female managers and females in the boardroom who can vouch for mitigating the gap in wages. “Mitigating the wealth gap has the potential to have positive feedback loop into prospects for sustainable economic growth and development. Finally, this presents a substantive measure for efforts to closing wealth inequality overall.”

You can read the original article here.

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