Welcome to “Women Around the World: This Week,” a series that highlights noteworthy news related to women and U.S. foreign policy. This week’s post, covering from February 10 to February 20, was compiled with support from Anne Connell and Alyssa Dougherty.
U.S.-Canada collaboration on women in business
Last week, U.S. President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau launched a new binational Council for the Advancement of Women Business Leaders and Female Entrepreneurs, tasked with a broad mandate of advancing women in the workplace. Details about the council—spearheaded by first daughter Ivanka Trump, whose influence reportedly led to the inclusion of a proposed childcare policy in President Trump’s campaign platform—are yet to be announced. The meeting drew comparisons between the two leaders’ respective commitments to gender parity: while Trudeau has made equality a cornerstone of Canadian foreign and domestic policy and in 2015 appointed a cabinet that was 50 percent women, President Trump has nominated only four women out of twenty-three cabinet positions requiring Senate confirmation, well below that of the last four U.S. presidential administrations.
Gender pay gap in Romania
Recent research on the gender pay gap in the European Union (EU) suggests that the eastern European nation of Romania may close the pay gap faster than any other country in the bloc. Women’s salaries in Romania are presently 9 percent lower than men’s, but experts suggest that this gap could be closed completely by 2018 among women aged 25 to 34, with the growing hospitality industry most likely to achieve equal pay first. Romania is also home to the second-highest percentage of women working in information and communications technologies (ICT) of any country in Europe, with women comprising 29 percent of the ICT workforce. As burgeoning energy, electricity, and ICT fields contribute to rapid growth in Romania, the nation’s economy stands to gain from increasing numbers of young women entering these fields. A new European parliament report suggests, however, that while Romania’s pay gap is almost four times lower than the EU average, the country continues to rank poorly when compared to EU neighbors on other measures of economic equality: fewer than 4 percent of Romanian CEOs are female, and data show that women disproportionally bear the burden of unpaid household and care work.
Underrepresentation of women in Indonesian politics
Indonesian women continue to be underrepresented in political life, comprising less than 7 percent of candidates in last week’s regional elections, despite Indonesian legislation requiring political parties to ensure that 30 percent of its candidates are women. In practice, many parties either ignore the law or recruit wives, daughters, relatives or low-ranking female civil servants to be placed low on party lists, without resources to support their candidacies. Women’s participation in this month’s elections has been further complicated by instability that has permeated national politics, with the rise of extremist fringe political groups that have shaken the Indonesian political establishment, and a rising conservative voter base discouraging women from entering politics.