BAYRASLI: Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to our panel on “Economic Gains of Gender Parity,” or what I would call wake up, world. Hire women, promote them, and put them in charge. (Laughter.)
BIGIO: I like it.
BAYRASLI: We’re in for a treat this afternoon to talk about I think what is really a vitally very important issue, because I think, when you talk about gender equality, I think you can’t ignore the economics of it. And I think when you’re talking about whether it’s the inclusion of women in the workforce or the gender pay gap, which we’ll all touch on here, it is really—it’s a vital matter when you’re taking a look at anything that has to do with gender.
And to join me to have that discussion here is Jamille Bigio, who is the Senior Fellow for Women and Foreign Policy here at the Council on Foreign Relations.
To her right is Kim Azzarelli, and she is the co-founder of Seneca Women. She is the chair and co-founder of the Center for Women, Justice, Economy, and Technology. And it says Cornell Law School here. Are you—
AZZARELLI: At Cornell. (Laughs.)
BAYRASLI: At Cornell.
AZZARELLI: Any Cornellians?
BAYRASLI: And to her right is Richard Fry. He’s a senior economist at the Pew Research Center.
And so, to kick this discussion off, I just want to ask a general question. Why does women’s participation in the workforce matter?
Richard, do you want to chime in?
FRY: Well, very briefly, just from an aggregate, totally economy-wide sense, speaking largely for the U.S., but this applies to other advanced economies as well, one sort of regime change going forward in the 2020s and beyond is that our labor-force growth is sharply slowing.
And in traditional economic sense, our well-being, our standard of living, comes from two things—productivity and labor-force growth. And so, to the extent that we can get wages up and women’s wages up, that should increase labor supply. And so, in that sense, just from a general increase in standard of livings, to the extent that we can get women’s wages up and more of them into the labor market, that will contribute to U.S. economic growth.
BAYRASLI: Jamille, do you want to chime in on that?
BIGIO: Sure. And that’s a trend that we see, not just in advanced economies but in developing economies as well. The McKinsey Institute, McKinsey Global Institute, did a study a few years ago where they looked at 95 countries around the world that covered 90 percent of women in the world, and they asked what would happen if women were to match men’s participation in the workplace more equally.
And they found that the growth would contribute $28 trillion to the global economy, which was roughly the size of the U.S. and Chinese economies today. And that’s if you were to first—if women were to participate in the labor force at the same rate as men, so the factor that Richard’s speaking to; if women were to work the same number of hours as men, so looking at the divide of part-time and full-time work; and if women were to be employed at the same levels as men across sectors.
So the 28 trillion (dollar) figure is actually an ideal scenario where women were to be exactly equal to men on all three of those factors.
So McKinsey then looked at a second question of what if countries were just to match the best-performing country in their region. And in that case they found that the figure would be $12 trillion globally that countries would gain.
And at CFR we have a digital interactive that visualizes that data by country. So you can see country by country how much would a country stand to gain if women were to participate in the workforce at higher levels, at working more—greater divide between part-time and full-time work, and represented at more senior positions in their sectors.
And one thing that’s interesting, kind of at the global level, what the data shows is that—take that 12 trillion (dollar) number and break it down into those three factors, that 60 percent of the gains are due to more women just working who aren’t currently working. Another 20 percent of the gains is to bring more women from part-time work into full-time work. And the final 20 percent of gain would be due to raising the positions that women work in the workplace. And there’s all kinds of factors that we can—that we’ll talk about more that kind of speak to those three barriers. But the economic case is that for a country it’s significant potential growth that they are leaving on the table when they aren’t looking at how you bring women into the workforce.
AZZARELLI: Yeah, I think Bob Zoellick said it best about ten years ago when he said gender equality is smart economics. And that kind of summarizes what we’re talking about.
And I think the other thing that we’ve all found is that there’s this double-divided effect. So when you invest in women, women typically tend to reinvest in their communities. And so that’s been a really interesting thing to think about too. So there’s the clear economic case, right. So we say it’s the right thing to do and we say it’s, you know, the smart thing to do. But then you have these social gains that come from it. And so our work has all been around this 12 (trillion dollars) to 28 trillion (dollars), the business case, laying out what’s business case and why the business case matters.
But to your question about why women’s participation matters, obviously the economic argument leads. And I think we all very much believe in the economic argument. I think, you know, the social argument is clearly important. But we also found that kind of women’s leadership matters. And women’s participation and having a women’s lens on things actually makes a difference.
And so we have this other aspect to, you know, how the world could be different and how, when things are designed from one perspective, you sometimes get systemic flaws that are not intentional. And I think that’s something we could maybe talk about a little bit more.
BAYRASLI: Yeah. And, I mean, smart economics—and we hear that all the time.
BAYRASLI: And when you Google, you know, gender parity and economics, you have all of these numbers. The number that—Jamille, you quoted 23 trillion (dollars). And they talk about how, you know, everything—GDP would go up. Productivity would go up. Growth would go up. Men’s salaries would go up. But we still don’t have that. And it begs the question, why isn’t this a priority?
But instead of framing it that way, I want to ask the question, what is it about a woman’s place in society that makes this progress so difficult?
Kim, do you want to—
AZZARELLI: Sure, sure.
Well, look, we’re talking about, like, you know, a history of inequality that’s, you know, a long history. I’m definitely an optimist by nature, as I think a lot of people here are. You know, it took—we’re almost at a hundred years since women had the right to vote. Our organization is named after Seneca Falls, near Ithaca, the home of the women’s movement in this country.
So, you know, we’re talking about systemic issues that last centuries, right. So even though the 12 (trillion dollar), $28 trillion research came out a few years back, you know, we are making a lot of progress. I think that where we’re stalled and why there’s some resistance is, you know, there’s obviously cultural issues all over the world, including in this country. I think we’re going to talk about the legal impediments. There’s, I think, a hundred and—it’s over 130 countries that have laws on the books that inhibit women’s economic participation, which is kind of a staggering thing that I hope we’ll get into more with Jamille.
But also I think there are these systemic issues that hold us back. So in this country, on this Women, Law, and Business report that the World Bank put out, it ranks countries and it gives them scores for their gender parity. And in the U.S. we’re ranked something, I think, 83.7. I want to say it’s 83.7. And why is that? We—you know, on five of the eight measures, we’re at 100 percent. But on three measures we’re not, and that’s the wage gap, which we’ll talk about. That’s maternal—sorry—
BIGIO: Parental leave?
AZZARELLI: Parental leave. (Laughs.) Paid parental leave, I should say. And there’s one other, which I’m blanking on. But the point is that if we don’t have, you know, an environment that supports women working, we systemically have issues.
And so one of the things I always—I kind of make it this joke, that, you know, why am I late for work and cold when I get there? It’s because I’m late for work because the school day and the work day is misaligned. Now, that’s a design flaw, right. Nobody in this room thinks that’s a good idea. I’m sure of it. It’s not good for men. It’s not good for women. It’s not good for children. It’s just a design flaw. And it’s because of a, you know, historical reason.
Why am I cold when I get to work? Because the temperature is often set to the metabolic rate of men. So, like, everybody in the—all the women are, like, freezing. But it’s not anyone’s—no one intentionally—it’s not like it’s an intentional thing.
So there are these systemic design flaws that are built into our systems over centuries, right. But I feel very optimistic, because we’re at this moment where everything in the world is being redesigned because of technology. And so we could get rid of some of these design flaws and reinvent things. And I often joke, I’m a New Yorker, and I used to raise my hand for a cab until Uber, Lyft—choose your right service—I still take cabs, by the way. But I’m just saying there’s a huge amount of options that didn’t exist before.
So if there was ever a moment where we could redesign the world to achieve this economic and gender parity, I think it’s now.
BAYRASLI: Jamille, you work a lot on this. Can you chime in on that?
BIGIO: I’m so glad that you posed the question this way, because it’s right that we can’t have women as equal participants in the workplace if they aren’t equal participants in society. The two go hand in hand. And so when we’re looking at solutions for how to bring more women into the workplace to realize the economic potential, you have to look at issues. And if you take a global perspective, you have to look at issues like access to education, access to financial services, access to the internet and cell phones, access to the legal protections that make it harder for women to work in the first place.
If we take a look at the United States, of that 12 trillion (dollar) figure, 2 trillion (dollars) is what the U.S. stands to gain if they brought more women into the workplace. And the social issues—some of the social barriers are time spent on unpaid care work. So you look at kind of the division of labor between men and women in the household. Women still bear—even at senior-vice-president level in Fortune 500 companies, research has been done and asked them kind of what the distribution of care work, and they still pulled the double shift, many of them, and were still doing much of the care work at home.
In the U.S., there are other issues—single mothers, teen pregnancy. Political representation is another big one. We certainly saw a wave of women being elected in the last midterms, but we still have—compared to the global averages, the U.S. is still low in terms of political representation. And all of these are factors that affect women’s place in society and their ability to participate fully in the economy and in the workplace. And you aren’t going to see more representation until you tackle some of these broader social issues.
BAYRASLI: Political participation—one of the things that has been cited that you don’t have a lot of women running for office is because it takes a lot of money to run for office. You have to raise the money, but you also have to have some money. And so this begs the question of the pay gap.
So, Richard, how large is the estimated gender pay gap in the U.S.?
FRY: In the U.S., it depends a little bit on the measure you use. We, with the Pew Research Center, we tend to like to look at hourly wages. And I just recently calculated this. For 2018, we—on the basis of sort of all male and female workers, the pay gap was about 85 percent in the U.S. in 2018. That’s based on our preferred hourly wages.
The Census Bureau, who I fully respect, they tend to use—they work with full-time, full-year workers, and their estimate was about 80 percent. So that’s their most recent estimate. So it depends a little bit on how you control for hours.
AZZARELLI: But either way it’s not good. (Laughs.)
FRY: To put a little historical context on it, again, using our preferred hourly-wage measure, in 1980 it was about 64 percent. Pretty much regardless of the measure you use, what you will see is that it was—the pay gap was much greater in 1980. There was substantial progress and narrowing during the 1980s and early ’90s. And we report that basically, using hourly wages, the pay gap has narrowed very little since 2000, in the new century. It’s basically been stagnant.
So it was very large in ’80. It has narrowed. Most of the narrowing was in the 1980s. And it, as of today, sits at about 85 percent.
BAYRASLI: So, Richard, what—so you have the narrowing from 1980 to about 2000. What are some of the reasons for that narrowing? And then why has—why haven’t we been able to reach the parity?
FRY: Yeah, it’s an interesting question. And the factors that influenced the pay gap back in 1980 are much different than what they are now. And so what accounts for the progress that occurred during the ’80s and early ’90s? Women in the workforce, in their characteristics relative to men, in 1980 it was very, very different. In 1980—being a labor economist, labor economists talk about a thing called human capital. And the way it’s typically measured is by two things—your formal education, your years of schooling, and then this notion that you get skills on the job, your labor-market experience.
And if you look in 1980 and compare male workers and female workers, on both those two accounts women were way behind. They were significantly less educated. And they had, in terms of sort of about usually—typically five, six, seven years behind the typical male worker.
And so the narrowing that occurred, largely during the ’80s and ’90s, it’s largely a story of great progress that women have made. Now they tend to be more educated than the typical male worker. So the schooling gap has totally disappeared.
And in terms of sort of the whole workforce, if you look at sort of measures of sort of years of labor-market experience as well as whether you’re working full-time or part-time, full weeks or how many weeks per year, those differences have substantially narrowed so that the male advantage in terms of sort of typical labor-market experience, it’s still a small advantage over all workers, but it’s now very narrow; so much-better educated women, their commitment to the workforce in terms of sort of labor-market experience has gone up.
And then the third factor I’ll mention, which we will circle back to, is that if you—the third major reason is occupational segregation. Back in 1980, men and women did not work in the same kinds of jobs. And just to sot of wrap this up, I’ll give you an example. OK, if we look at sort of traditional male professional jobs, like doctors and lawyers, women have made tremendous progress. Are they at parity? No, they’re not. But there’s many more women professionals, women in traditionally male professional jobs.
So narrowed the schooling gap, much greater labor-market experience, and the beginning of the dwindling of occupational segregation—those are three of the main factors for why the pay gap narrowed.
BAYRASLI: And this is actually something that I—so I founded an organization that is focused on increasing female voices in the media. And when I go to, whether it’s the New York Times or the Washington Post or CNN, and I say, you know, where are your female experts, they say, well, you know, there aren’t any experts in nuclear security or China.
But when you look at the numbers in IR schools, in MBA—well, I’m not sure about MBA, but law schools—
AZZARELLI: MBA too.
BAYRASLI: They’re, I mean, not only equal, but women are slight—there are more women enrolled in these programs than there are men. And so, like, clearly the expertise is there. And I know, Kim, this is something that you’ve worked on. There’s clearly a—there’s a systemic problem here. There’s a challenge here where Richard touched on. You know, you have the segregation between the industries. But I think it’s a little bit more than that. Can you talk about that?
AZZARELLI: Yeah, sure.
So we wrote a book called Fast Forward: How Women Can Achieve Power and Purpose. And in that book we sort of studied a lot of these trends. And coming out of all that, what we sort of realized was, well, first of all—I think most people know this—that there’s a leadership gap. So, like, you know, the kind of joke at Davos is that the shortest line at Davos is the ladies’ room. But it’s actually not a joke. It’s true. There’s, like, 20 percent of women’s participation at Davos.
And pretty much everywhere in the world, if you look at governing bodies, you see there’s roughly 20 percent. I mean, it’s inching up a little bit. And we all very much, I think, admire Geena Davis’s work. And she—we were having one of these kind of—I think we were having a meal or something, and she said that, you know, we’re kind of maybe conditioned to think about that as equal in the sense that, for example, extras in movies are typically 17 percent women; so 50 percent of the population, but yet in the background, you see 17 percent. So maybe there’s something—some conditioning there.
But what we kind of looked at was what’s going on? Why is this pipeline issue always cited, that there’s just not enough women in the pipeline? It’s like a constant. So we started realizing there are these popular myths in the world that we all sort of buy into. And so I brought a little show and tell. We created this thing called the five myths which are holding women back in the workplace.
And the first myth I kind of addressed before, which is this idea that if we could just fix the women, women would succeed—so, you know, if women were more competent, if they were more this, if they were more that, if they spoke better in meetings; like when we realize, in fact, we don’t have to fix the women. It’s these systemic issues.
But then the second myth was this pipeline myth, and exactly what you just said. There actually are enough women in the pipeline. But yet we are conditioned to think there’s just not enough women; we don’t have—and to your point about closing the wage gap or the pay gap over the years, the fact that we’re still stuck now at this 85, I think, you know, is endemic to these larger systemic flaws.
And the real next chapter of this has to be women in leadership positions. It just has to be, because then you’re going to have—you know, it’s not just women and men. It’s just a diversity of viewpoints, whether, you know—it doesn’t matter what area. But if you have a diversity of viewpoints, I think all the evidence shows you get better results. And so it kind of brings us back to the economic point, which is we need to dispel this myth of the pipeline and we need women and men in leadership positions.
I always—I’m a big Supreme Court junkie. (Laughs.) And, you know, like, one myth, for example, is this idea that, you know—there’s this great joke. I don’t know if you’ve seen it. It’s a cartoon and it’s a boardroom. And one of the men says that’s a great point that Jamille just made. Maybe one of the men in the room would like to make it, right; so this idea that, you know, when you’re in meetings, somehow your viewpoint gets, you know, overtaken. And we realize that actually in the Supreme Court, the women on the Supreme Court get interrupted three times as much as the men.
So there are these kind of systemic things that just happen. And I think we as women sometimes internalize them as, if I only did this better, if I did that better, if I just—again, if we could just fix the women. I think we need to dispel these myths.
BAYRASLI: It’s great to dig into the pipeline point a little bit more and its relationship to the pay gap. So there was research done on the Fortune 500 companies. And, first off, let’s start off with the data point that 57 percent of college degrees go to women. Entry level at Fortune 500 is 47 percent women. So already just there’s a—we don’t have representation from college degrees through into the first level.
But then there’s a 10 percentage point drop in representation with the first promotion. And it’s at that—nothing else that you can do across the pipeline makes up for that gap. And that relates to—what we see is that women stay longer in their first position. They stay longer in many positions than their male counterparts do. So they’re just in that position for more years before they get that next promotion, which affects how far up they’re able to go in the pipeline.
And so you see a drop through until you get, you know, up to senior-vice-president level. And the C-suite drops down there to 20 percent for women in general. When you break it down by ethnicity, they found 17 percent women in color—women of color at the entry level down to 3 percent in the C-suite.
And so this relates back to some of the conscious and unconscious biases in the promotion process. It relates to some of the research that they’ve done looking at what feedback do women get from their male bosses over the course of their career. Do they put themselves forward for promotions? You kind of break down these different levels.
But again, kind of this—these biggest gaps is just in how long it takes for women to even get those promotions. And that’s a piece where I think taking the lessons and looking at the myths of how do you address the biases in the promotion process is one of the tools to help increase representation at senior levels, which for businesses we know means that they perform better, but also will have an effect on the pay gap.
BAYRASLI: But this also touches on a point where the women are getting stuck. When you’re taking a look at the data and you’re talking to a lot of workplaces, they’ll talk about, well, women take time off to have children and have families. And so we hear something called the mommy penalty. You know, and a lot can be said on there, and we can kind of—we can probably spend several hours talking about that. How real is that? And my real question is, why isn’t there a daddy penalty?
AZZARELLI: Can I just address that one point? I think there’s—first of all, you’re 100 percent right. And I think this mommy penalty is really real. And I think this off-ramping, on-ramping question is a very systemic thing. But what I’m kind of enthusiastic about is paternity leave, and particularly the data that’s showing that paternity leave actually drives women’s salaries up. So it’s like an unbelievable thing, right.
And it’s, again, back to this sort of—we could redesign everything right now. Most men would like to be with their families. I mean, I just don’t think this is a women’s issue. I mean, I think we need to recast a lot of this away from, you know, women’s issues. And I think—I’m pretty sure we agree on that. And so this idea of the mommy track—I think we’ve got to get beyond this way of looking at the world so narrowly. And, you know, there’s very few people who live the life of, like, you know, one of those ’50s TV shows. I mean, it’s just not real anymore, right. Most people have two incomes, juggling a lot of things.
I think everybody wants that for their children. Most people want that for their spouses. So I think we have to shift to what’s good for families, what’s good for humans. (Laughs.) And it seems as though parental leave, paternity leave—and particularly in Europe they’ve shown that it actually increases the salaries of women; it increases the salaries of—it makes everybody better.
So I feel like we’ve—the mommy penalty is a very real thing, and it’s soon going to become a family penalty if we don’t sort of address it in its tracks.
BIGIO: What’s interesting is to overcome some of the cultural barriers for men to take that leave. Where it’s worked most effectively is where countries have actually made it use-or-lose time. So the family only gets that X period of time if the father takes that leave. And only with that incentive in place, that helps fathers kind of overcome the expectation that they will put work over family and actually take that leave. And when they do, as you said, it has effects on distribution of unpaid care work. It increases the bond between fathers and children earlier, which has, you know, benefits for fathers and children over the course of their lifetimes, and then has this later-on effect on the wage gap.
FRY: Yeah, I think, at least in the U.S. context, there’s been a lot of statistical work on the motherhood penalty, and it’s real. And a corollary of it is that there’s also literature that sort of shows—and this is real as well—what’s called the married-male premium, that married guys actually do tend to get paid a little bit more than single guys. And so there that family commitment actually works to their advantage.
In the case of the motherhood penalty, what does it reflect? It’s real. Why are mothers being penalized? On the one hand, there’s some evidence that, given the different sort of gender division in parenting, that moms do tend to take a lot of the child-rearing responsibilities and work that goes at home. That may affect their productivity at work. So in that sense it’s a reflection of different gender roles in the division of labor.
On the other hand, there’s also some evidence that suggests when we do sort of experimental studies with employers—and these are experimental; it’s hard to know how much they really carry over to the real world—there’s experimental elements that employers do discriminate and have a bias against mothers, possibly because they anticipate these productivity effects. But it is real, whatever its cause.
BAYRASLI: Well, one thing in the workplace that, I mean, that we’ve seen a trend that we’ve seen that workplaces are trying to address this, to incorporate more women, is flexibility and making work hours more flexible, allowing people to work from home, both men and women.
But when I take a look at this, I think, you know, is flexibility the only thing that’s holding women back? You know, there are lots of issues, certainly; like sexual harassment is one of them. And I also think—personally, I think, you know, visibility and opportunities for women to advance themselves, to be leaders.
Kim, do you want to—
BAYRASLI: —talk about that?
AZZARELLI: Sure. I would say that, you know, there are many things holding women back—(laughs)—in the workplace. But I feel like we’re moving in a good direction. And for us, we’ve been really focused on, again, this idea of workplace culture, which is bigger than the way—I think some of our language is holding us back at this point, to be honest with you. I think we’re—
BAYRASLI: Well, that’s interesting.
AZZARELLI: —kind of caught in the same way of talking about things. And I can tell you, the next generation—when I give a lot of these talks, they’re, like, why are you making the business case? Isn’t this, like, a human-rights case? Like, they don’t—you know, for the older generations, of which I think, you know, we have to accept that we are part of right now, that we—you know, we have to make the business case, right.
When Ambassador Verveer, my partner at Seneca, would go to sort of more difficult parts of the world and try to make the case for women’s economic empowerment, they would say, oh, that’s lovely. The minister would say, that’s lovely. Maybe you want to meet with one of the young women on my staff. And she’d say, oh, no, no, sir, I think you’ve misunderstood me. I’m here to talk about growing your economy.
So the business case in some instances is really important. But I think this next generation really expects an equal world. And I think our workplace culture has to evolve. And again, one of the things that I’m very passionate about is this not being a women’s issue and the fact that workplace—whether it’s flexibility, whether it’s finding purpose in your work—that’s been a big piece of our work. How do you find—people want purpose in their work now, right. Most—I know 80 percent of women want purpose in their work. Sixty percent of millennials, men or women, won’t even go to work unless they feel that their work has some kind of meaning.
So our expectations around work are changing. And I think there’s going to be a major talent gap happening. And we advise—I work with a lot of big companies on these issues, and we actually just created an app which I ask you all to download for free in the App Store, which has been trending in the App Store, called Seneca Connect. But it’s all about this. It’s about how do you reinvent your sort of daily culture around things that are bigger and the way—the way we want to live in the future because I think being held back by these notions of historical ways, that way we look at the world and we look at work, is changing dramatically. And I think the next generation is going to demand it. And if they don’t, listen, we’re starting businesses at, like—women are starting businesses, 1,800 a day in this country, right? People don’t want to go to work in the old way that work existed. And I think probably I’d say the majority of the students that you guys teach have a very different expectation of what the work world is going to be, and so if companies don’t adapt it’s over. So it’s real.
BIGIO: And I think one piece there, as well, on the flexibility point—and this comes back to kind of the cultural norms around workplace policies—are those seen as shorthand for women? And if they are, then they will—then women who take them will be penalized in the workplace for doing so. So how we think about these workplace policies in a way that benefit the entire workforce, and think about it as being a workforce that can attract the best talent and kind of encourage that, because if it gets pigeonholed into just a solution for working mothers then it will maintain a stigma around it.
BAYRASLI: Richard, what are the trends in the labor force in terms of kind of the structure or the things that both Jamille and Kim were talking about? Are the trends changing?
FRY: Yes and no. In terms of sort of the flexibility question, flexibility is important, but it’s not everything. I made a pitch that a significant part of it is that men and women, at least in the U.S., don’t work in the same jobs. And I said that there has been—that has changed, OK? But it’s still the case today that one of the basics sort of underlying today’s pay gap is it’s still the case that men and women don’t work in the same kinds of jobs.
And I’m just going to give you a very easy example. If you look at America’s growing STEM workforce, OK, particularly in the growing and relatively lucrative—a lot of STEM workers, those are well-paying jobs—women are grossly underrepresentative in the nation’s STEM workforce, and I’ll give you some specific examples. Women are about 47 percent of U.S. employees. They make up about 14 percent of the nation’s engineers. The growing computer industry shot off like a rocket since 1990. If we look at the nation’s computer scientists, computer occupations, systems analysts and that sort of stuff, only a quarter of the nation’s computer occupations are women. So, yes, increasingly men and women are working in the same occupations, but as of 2018 it’s still the case that there’s a significant degree of occupational segregation, OK, particularly in certain areas. And so they’ve made progress, but there’s still a significant piece of occupational segregation that’s underlying the pay gap. I’m not saying that’s the only factor, but it’s one of the factors.
BIGIO: And it’s also affecting the economic growth. So that 2 trillion (dollar) figure I gave earlier about how much the U.S. would benefit if women were represented in the workplace, 30 percent of that is from the sector mix. So 30 percent would be addressed if there was more representation of women in the higher-productivity sectors.
AZZARELLI: I 100 percent agree. (Laughs.) I think, though, that the—I’ve been spending a lot of time in the technology sector in the last two years, and I’ve been working with Apple on a really great program that we just launched for women entrepreneurs in technology, and myself working in technology now as a woman entrepreneur in technology. I feel that we’re also very narrowly defining technology and what it means to be in the technology industry. And I think we’re making it very unattractive. Like, the image of technology with the, like, white guy in a hoodie with his pizza being slid under his door, like, you know, that’s like—you know, that’s what you need. If you want to be in technology, that’s what you have to be like. And I think that’s really changing pretty quickly, and I think that we need to make it more attractive for sure for girls.
Obviously, this—the drop off is at twelve. I think most people know that, that you know, there’s a quick drop off. But I think even for a lot of us, you know, we will and all will be sort of somehow involved with technology in one way or another, whether we like it or not. But I think the jobs are starting to expand a lot. And so I think we need to, even for adult women, sort of recast what it means to be in technology. It’s such a narrowly—and I don’t know; I, obviously, haven’t studied that, how you guys define it—but I think we need to, again, use different language. I think the language is holding us back. And it’s setting expectations and we’re sort of reinforcing these myths.
You know, Steve Jobs, you know, he really wasn’t that much of a coder in the end. You know, like, he—I mean, of course, he’s Steve Jobs; he created a whole entire industry. The man is unbelievable giant. But he wasn’t so narrow in the way he thought about technology. And I think, you know, we kind of narrowly slot people and gender into what we’re good at and what we’re bad at, and I think it’s holding us back.
BAYRASLI: I’m glad you brought up technology because, as somebody—I’ve spent a lot of time looking at entrepreneurs around the world, and the one thing that you constantly hear is how technology—mobile phone, the internet—has made it possible for women to become entrepreneurs because they can do that from their homes. You see women Uber and as—women as Uber and Lyft drivers. Certainly, this is something as—it’s a huge phenomenon in the Middle East. How true is this, you know, technology is going to lift women up?
AZZARELLI: I mean, I think we—well, if we get—if women have access. I worked with a while back—and you may have—you might have worked with them as well—but we worked with Intel on this She Will Connect program, which showed a huge gap in access to technology in Africa. I mean, it’s in every country there’s a gap, a huge—and I’m sure you have—you know the statistic better than I do.
So I do think technology will lift women up. I think it will lift the world if it’s used for good—(laughs)—in the right way. But I think women don’t have equal access, just like everything else. Right now women do not have equal access to technology.
There was a—again, I’m speaking for both of us because I know we share a lot of the same values sometimes—but SEWA, right, which is the Self-Employment (sic; Employed) Women’s Association in India, something like a million strong women, there was this incredible story that was told to me by the organizer of SEWA and—or the leader of SEWA. And she was saying that, you know, SEWA really was a lot of sort of agricultural, very sort of bottom-of-the-pyramid women in India, and there was a phone company that wanted to partner with them. And the phone company was like—the mobile phone. And they were, I don’t know if these women are going to be able to do, you know, this mobile phone thing so easily; like, you know, it’s kind of complicated, and—she was like, oh, no, no. I don’t think you understand our women, right? And they built a program on this phone, and I think it was within six weeks or something unbelievable they had increased the agricultural prices of selling—what they were selling and they were able to sort of access markets.
So I think we underestimate the power of women. And I think we kind of, again, put ourselves in these sort of myths. But women still lack access. So if women get access, it will lift women. If women don’t have access, not so much.
BIGIO: I fully agree that the same kind of social/cultural barriers that are affecting women in the workplace today are the issues that we need to tackle to help ensure that the revolution that will continue with the assistance of technology and automation and AI, that it doesn’t perpetuate the same barriers and the same inequalities. And certainly, we see that there’s a mix—a mix of benefits and potential losses for women when it comes to technology. So when you’re talking about women in rural areas in developing countries—not just rural areas, in urban areas—of having access to digital payments and the opportunities that that provides them to increase their savings, with mobile phones of having access to mobile payments and being able to access bank accounts that way and get loans that way and grow their businesses, there’s so much potential there.
But on the flipside, as we look at the future of work, we see that women are disproportionately employed in the occupations that are highly vulnerable to automation. So again, as we’re planning of what’s going to happen, how automation is going to affect the future of work and of jobs there, that there are effects that will impact men and women differently. So certainly, you know, the manufacturing sector over the last several decades has disproportionately affected men with high school degrees or less that have been working in manufacturing. But as we look kind of with the future of what will happen with automation, there are different roles that women are working in that will be affected.
And just a note on the entrepreneurship piece as well, kind of related to tech but also is looking just access to assets in general. And here, too, is where I’d raise laws as another barrier that’s making it harder for women entrepreneurs around the world to—they don’t inherit money the same way as their husbands and sons do. They may need in different countries—legally may need—they don’t have land in their name. All of that limits the assets that they can put forward to—the collateral that they have to get their first loans and influences their entrepreneurship opportunities. Or being able to get a cellphone, to get a SIM card, where the know-your-customer regulations haven’t been loosened, it again impacts women differently. So as we’re looking at kind of, again, the opportunities around technology, especially for entrepreneurs, that making sure that these legal/social/cultural barriers are addressed so that women can have that access.
BAYRASLI: I want to pick up on automation because this is something that I’m personally worried about. And if you have—Richard, you pointed out that most—in the STEM industry and in working in technology, and Kim you pointed out this as well, most of the coders, most of the people working in those industries are men. And they’re developing the artificial intelligence. They’re working on these algorithms. I know Google, you know, there’s this—on Google Translate—I’m a Turkish speaker, and Turkish is a gender-neutral language so there’s no his/her/she/he. But when you—when you go in and try to translate that to English, it always translates to “he.” You know, and I think that is very—that is evident that you have, you know, here it’s a male coder that just presumes that everything is from a male perspective, and I find that to be very disturbing. So if we have—we don’t have enough women in—as coders working on this, what I’m afraid of is that we’re going to have the discrimination and bias not just towards women, but also I think, you know, on a racial and ethnic level as well be—persist. How do we address that, quote/unquote, “bug”?
FRY: Um—(laughter)—I’m not going to have a lot to say on this. (Laughter.) I agree with the problem that you are pointing to. The solutions, I don’t—I don’t have much to contribute.
AZZARELLI: I have a couple things to say.
BAYRASLI: Great. (Laughter.)
AZZARELLI: When we were on our—when we—when we went on our book tour, we went to a lot of the big tech companies and I was really amazed by one of the most senior guys in the room on—in this technology company. He was in charge of R&D at a major, big company, and he was saying that he didn’t have enough women on his team. And he was like, listen, 85 percent of purchasing power is made by—you know, women have 85 percent of purchasing power. Women actually purchase a lot of technology for the household and in general. And I know that I’m going to lose market share if I don’t have a diversity of perspectives at the top, but I don’t have it.
And what he was saying was that—and it was actually backed up by another person in the room who was a woman engineer. And she said, look, I went into STEM and I was lonely, and I—but I pushed through; and I got to, you know, graduate school and I pushed through; and then, you know, I got into industry and I pushed through; and now I lead an entire team, primarily men. And she’s like, you know, and it’s just lonely. I’m lonely. And you know, and a year later she quit, and she was probably the most senior woman in that R&D area.
So I think that there’s something to the culture, so we have to really focus on the culture. Everyone talks about now the inclusion in D&I. You know, it’s one thing to have diversity, it’s another thing to have inclusion. But I think it’s really critical because, to the point made earlier, bias in, bias out on AI is very real. And so, again, I’m so enthusiastic and positive about this moment in history, this unique moment that we have to redesign the future. But again, if we don’t have a diverse viewpoint at the table, we’re going to have a future that’s the same if not worse. And when the Arab Spring happened, I happened to be very fortunate to be around Justice O’Connor and she said something that really stuck with me. And she said it’s amazing that, you know, women really, you know, brought on the Arab Spring, but if they’re not there to design the constitution that’s a hundred years lost—a hundred years. So it’s these critical moments that if we don’t have the right diversity of viewpoints at the table we could be designing a future that, frankly, could be worse than our past.
So I’m super excited. I don’t think that’s going to happen. But I think this—these kinds of conversations, the things that you’re raising and that you guys all have the power to impact—I mean, that’s what exciting about being in this room: you all have the power to impact this. And so if we can sort of reeducate ourselves and then help the next generation, we’re going to be in much better shape.
BIGIO: Right. There’s a great quote by a female mathematician that algorithms are opinions in math. And so recognizing that they are opinions and that, therefore, there is always an opening for bias there, and that we need to be conscious of that.
And to the point that you just made, Kim, and to—you know, as an appeal to you all in your roles, one of the challenges that we see when it comes to making the case that women’s participation in the economy, and security, and foreign policy, name your sector, is both beneficial to the outcomes of that sector’s economic growth, the business case we’re talking about today, as well as the right thing to do. It is—that material and that wealth of research is too often not included in courses in colleges. And making sure that students have access and are exposed to the incredible wealth of research that exists out there that makes the case that diversity and inclusion in foreign policy, in economics, et cetera, leads to better outcomes.
And so I would just encourage you all, where you have the opportunities in your syllabus, to include this research and to teach about how diversity and inclusion advances whatever it—whatever topic you’re addressing, I think will help to ensure that the next generation of professionals has that exposure, had that data, and can be part of really what is the next, you know, major human rights challenge for us to overcome, and that’s the gender inequality that has held women and girls back around the world, and that’s held societies and economies back because we aren’t tapping half our population for solutions.
BAYRASLI: I’m going to—Kim, and then I’m going to open it up to questions.
AZZARELLI: You know, I teach as an adjunct at Cornell. And I was teaching on Monday the course—the topic of my course is women, law, and the economy. And I was looking at the Women, Business and Law Report that the World Bank put out. And it was the ten-year anniversary. And I was kind of involved at the beginning, and that’s ten years ago. And I was preparing for the course a little bit last minute. (Laughs.) To be very honest. And I was rereading the report. And I was actually amazed that 131 countries have made 274 legal reforms in the last ten years. And it said that two billion more women are better off—two billion are affected in a positive way by these 274 legal reforms.
And then it was sort of tracing—the report was tracing back to ten years ago, also to the Beijing platform of ’95, all these different things that happened which were kind of big policy-type multilateral-type things that you really work on. And my—I was so excited. It didn’t bring tears to my eyes, but it close, because I thought: My God. We really could make an impact. Like, this is real. And so what you guys do is, from my perspective, a very powerful tool for the world, because just think. In ten years, two billion women affected by these laws. I mean, countries are starting to understand the business case.
And then after I gave my presentation, a student gave a presentation on Saudi Arabia and Vision 2030. And he said, oh—you know, he was so excited because he said: Saudi Arabia now wants more women to participate in the economy because oil prices are going down. And so they realize that, you know, to grow economies you need women’s participation. And he then went and made the whole business case for Saudi Arabia. Now, if oil prices go up, he said, let’s see what happens. But the reality is, you know, Saudi Arabia’s making the business case. So, you know, you see a lot of change happening.
BIGIO: And we have a digital interactive on our website that visualizes the World Bank’s Women, Business, and the Law dataset. So you can go in by—it ranks countries, and you it goes in by country of what the legal barriers are. And we have been sharing that with government and multilateral partners, so that they can use that in their engagement with a country and say: You have X to gain in your GDP if women participate, and here are the specific laws on the books, because some people may not just have that visibility of here are the laws on the books that are making it harder for women to work. So, again, we hope it’s a tool that students can use as well to really help them understand kind of what’s happening in different countries.
BAYRASLI: Great. I’m going to open it up to questions. If you can raise your hand and let me know. The woman back—yeah. If you can identify yourself.
Q: Hello. I’m Nyla Ali Khan from Oklahoma, Rose State College.
So my question is: The current U.S. administration has forged links with various conservative countries to undermine global commitments to gender equality and to sexual and reproductive right as well. And the Beijing Declaration, that you mentioned a little while ago, is being actively undermine. And our national support for the Beijing platform of 1995 is being undermined. And the U.S. is one of the seven countries that still hasn’t ratified CEDAW. So where exactly do you see all this going? And how can we revive the faith of young people, our students, in the power of intergovernmental organizations like the United Nations to work for progressive change and gender equality?
AZZARELLI: Do you want me to take it, or do you want to?
BIGIO: You start.
AZZARELLI: (Laughs.) First of all, I wrote my law school note on how the U.S. was one of I don’t remember how many countries now, not for CEDAW but for International Treaty for Children’s Rights. So I hear you . And I’ve been—I was very active in talking about that for many, many years.
I think obviously we’re in this kind of unusual climate in the world in general. And I—you know, I think I mentioned earlier that the U.S. ranks—is rated 83 on that report that we were just talking about because of the pay gap, because of maternal leave, and also because of not getting pension credits for child care—when women take time out for child care. And so I think we can’t look at the U.S. as the only country—there are six countries in the world that actually have 100 percent on this scoring. And I feel like we are moving in a good direction. Next year is the 25th anniversary of the Beijing platform, as you probably know, and it’s the hundredth anniversary of women’s right to vote in this country.
And so I think that people are gearing up to try to address these issues, and to make sure that we’re not—these things are not being undermined around the world. I think what is also happening is that since the trust factor is kind of low in government right now—to put it mildly—(laughs)—companies are kind of stepping in. Not—and, you know, that’s a whole other conversation around the role of corporate social responsibility—but what I am seeing is that leaders, either by necessity or by good intention, are stepping in to make sure that these things are happening because, again, the economic case is so damn strong that, you know, we lean on it in these moment when not everybody agrees with the same human rights framework.
And I think that’s probably a lot of what drives our work, is the business case is clear. It’s empirical. Whether you care about this issue, don’t care about this issue, whether you think it’s the right thing to do or not, whether you—you know, because I, and maybe it’s an unusual thing to say—but I try not to make these political issues. Of course, at the core, they’re political issues on different levels. And we need to pass legislation. I’m a lawyer, this is what, you know, we care about. But, again, we want to take it to a higher plane of living, because we have to, right? As politics comes and goes, administrations come and go, this is hundreds of years of the past and a look to the future of hundreds of years.
And so I personally try not to focus so much on the politics of everything because, A, it’s not in my nature but, B, I’m trying to take this longer view. And I think we could get derailed very quickly, and it does derail conversations as probably most of you experience all the time. And so, again, focusing on the business case, focusing on the progress we’re making, pushing for the progress, and then coming up with actual tools. I very much support their research and, you know, integrate that into your curriculum. Obviously all of the polling that’s being done. These are, like, evidence-based things. You can’t argue with evidence, right? You can’t. I mean, people do. (Laughter.) You can argue, but you’re not very logical people.
So, I mean, the idea is bring out the evidence-based case, teach it to your students so that they can go make the case in their own environments. If you’re an economist, you’re an economist. Of course, you can do whatever you want with it, but at least there’s evidence. For the past thirty years we didn’t have that much data, like we have now. The data is now in. It is very crystal clear. And so, of course, if you want to have fake news you can have fake news. You can do anything you want. But the reality is, we need to stay above it. and I think it’s up to us to do that. Those who—those of us who can, I think we have to.
BIGIO: Another piece that’s useful, I think, is the building support for the social change. And that’s where stories is incredibly—are incredibly helpful. They’re—and the other hat I have, the other research I do, is in the security space. Fork Films just launched in partnership with PBS—it might still be streaming on PBS—they aired across all PBS network affiliates across the United States a series of films called “Women, War and Peace.” And it brought—it captured the stories, writing into history, and in some cases rewriting into history stories that have been taken out, of the role that women have played around the world.
There’s one on Northern Ireland and the Good Friday Agreement capturing the critical role women played as part of that agreement. You talked about the U.N. There’s one film about Bangladeshi women deploying as female—as peacekeepers to Haiti to talk about what role women played there. And this builds on an incredible film called Pray the Devil Back to Hell, which was the first of this series, which tells the story of the role that women played in the Liberian peace process. And it’s just not known, the stories we—our history books talk about the Good Friday Agreement. They talk about the Liberian agreement without talking about the critical role that women actually played. And so having these films to make sure that that story is spread.
And they’ve actually done a twenty-minute version—a twenty-minute clip that pulls together components of the different films, as well as a five-minute clip for teaching purposes. So, again, another tool for you all.
BAYRASLI: Great. Right here in the corner.
Q: Hi. My name’s Spencer Bakich and I’m at Virginia Military Institute.
I have an empirical question that I think might get at the gender segregation, pay gap, and leadership issue. Is it true or is it not true that women’s leadership roles have increased more dramatically in the private sector as opposed to—I’m sorry—in the nonprofit sector than it is in any other sectors?
AZZARELLI: I think so. (Laughs.) I think that’s the case. I do think we’re seeing what we call the kitchen cabinet, just below the C-suite, for example, in companies, we are seeing growth. We did talk about the big drop off after that first promotion, but we are seeing women moving up. It’s just in that top echelon of leadership there’s some regression, at the CEO level in particular. But I do think in the public sector we’re seeing better. But we’re still in the same place everywhere—like I said, in that 20-25 percent range in the leadership around the world in all different areas.
But I—again, I feel optimistic because the strategy the day-to-day tradeoffs—I’ve worked in a couple of public companies. And everybody knows the CEO in a company doesn’t have that much power unless the people below them give them information. And the day-to-day decisions are being made below the C-suite on some level. So this day-to-day strategy. And women are there. And so I think we’re going to see very different—a different world. And in fact, right now we’re working on this app. Again, we’ve been sort of trying to put all the data in one place, but also I think the storytelling’s really important.
And to your work in women in the media, this idea of she can see it, she can be it, to show role models for everybody of what women’s leadership looks like. It doesn’t have to be—you know, don’t have to be the CEO to have all the power. There’s a lot of other places you can have power. And for example, I worked a lot with P&G. And, you know, the president of P&G in North America, it’s a $30 billion business, is a woman. First time, like, in history that you have women in so many areas of leadership. Maybe not the top-top CEO ranks, but really in a lot of important places.
And so you see—I believe that we will see change. And I believe it will naturally come because, again, there are opportunities that never existed for women. We are at a historical moment. Now, is it as fast as I would like? No. The name of my book is called Fast Forward because the whole thing is about how can we fast forward progress. There’s some statistics that say it’ll take two hundred years to get to equality. Well, none of us are going to be around and none of us want to wait that long. So what can we do differently in this moment? I think the media, the storytelling, the evidence-based case—all these things together. And then, of course, leadership. It’s the leadership of men and women. It’s all about people.
But I do think—to answer your question more directly, I do think you see better in the public sector than the private sector, but I would not discount the private sector. It’s coming.
BIGIO: One area of change that needs to happen in the private sector side—it’s right that, you know, overall we see women at around 20 percent in Fortune 500 C-suites, so report directly to the CEO. But they’re more typically in roles like head of HR, IT, CFO—
AZZARELLI: The R-jobs.
BIGIO: Right. And they aren’t in the head of the business unit position typically. And typically when you’re promoting from within, it’s the head of the business unit that you’re promoting up to the CEO level. So kind of as we’re trying to look to change the numbers at the top, it’s going to be looking too at making sure that you’re bringing more women into the core business line jobs of the—of the company, so that they have that real channel.
AZZARELLI: And also, there are starting to conversations about: Why are we only looking at line jobs? And so looking at other industries. Just thinking different—everything is about thinking differently, shifting our perspective. There’s this incredible woman named Malak Jan from earlier in the 20th century or mid-20th century from Iran, who I very much admire. And she was blind. She lived in Iran. She was frail and lived in a very patriarchal village where, you know, women and girls were not valued. And she has this great quote that I always remember. And it says: If you want to change a person’s mindset, their actions would follow. And so I think it’s about changing mindsets. It’s about changing our perspective on how we’ve been doing things. Maybe we have to do things a little bit differently if we want a different outcome. And so, you know, always bring back to the same language, the same approaches, it’s just not going to work.
BAYRASLI: So we’ve got about ten minutes left. So I’m going to ask our panelists to keep the answers a little shorter because there’s a lot of questions here.
And I’m going to go to this woman right here.
Q: Hi. Jacqueline McAllister, Kenyon College.
I have a question in regards to the #MeToo movement and impact. So, Richard, you were talking about how the—there’s been stagnation in closing the wage gap since 2000. And maybe there’s no change here as a result of the #MeToo movement. But are you—is there any data you all are seeing in your work that suggests that this is actually having a concrete impact? Like, is there data there or is—you know, what are you guys seeing there?
Q: Can I piggyback, because my question was also just that?
BAYRASLI: Sure, go ahead. Even better, three questions at a time.
Q: There is the World Economic Forum’s report that in 2016 they estimated that the gender parity would take 172 years. And then as a result of #MeToo, they are arguing that now it will take 225 years for gender parity because—and the reason they attribute it is that older men are now reluctant to mentor young women. And because more men are in leadership positions, women are now being deprived of mentorship by leaders and, therefore, we are further delaying. That’s a WEF argument on the impact of #MeToo on the leadership of women. So I just wanted to know if you are—what do you think of the study? Could be just imaginary?
AZZARELLI: I mean, I don’t think that’s imaginary. I have actually experienced this kind overcorrection on the part of some men. But I think one of the myths that we have is that sexual harassment is a women’s issue. Again, I think a lot of men—dare I say, most men—don’t want to have sexual harassment in the workplace. And so you do see #MeToo has had this incredible positive effect in that two billion more women who are better off because of those 274 reforms. A lot of the reforms are actually around sexual harassment. So I do think that there was some correlation happening. And I think #MeToo created a public dialogue that those of us who have been working in this space for a very long time were amazed at how these issues have become mainstream. I mean, people who you would never expect to be talking about these things are talking about it. So that’s a super positive effect.
The overcorrection that you’re talking about is real. I’ve heard very clearly myself people saying, oh, I would never mentor a woman now, no way, like, you know? And for those people, you have to wonder, you know—(laughs)—how can we kind of broaden their mindset a little bit and say that, you know, we have to think about things, again, differently. And so there is—this is the society we live in. There’s polarization. There’s misinformation. There’s a lot of myths. And so I think it’s up to each of us to say, you know, let’s not overcorrect here. I think most men are not thinking that they don’t want to mentor a women because of #MeToo. So #MeToo I think, net, has had a hugely positive effect. Like anything in society it can be morphed and get a little crazy, because that’s the world in which we live. But I see—in the World Bank report, you see that a lot of the laws are around sexual harassment, and that’s a very positive thing.
BIGIO: Violence against women is one of the key factors keeping women out of the workplace. So until we tackle that—you know, the #MeToo movement is helping our society have more of a conversation on the extent of the issue and start to think about some real policy solutions to address it, and legal solutions. Nearly sixty countries don’t have a law on the books that makes—that protect women from sexual harassment in the workplace. So there’s some very kind of practical solutions that we can undertake that maybe will have some barriers now, but in the long run we need to tackle this issue if we’re actually going to bring—ensure that women are equal in society and at work.
BAYRASLI: Great. Next question? Yes, gentleman right here.
Q: Jesse Crane-Seeber from the University of District of Columbia. And I teach in both gender studies and political science.
And it strikes me that we haven’t—only at the end are we sort of talking about men and masculinities because in the gender studies literature one of the things we see is that women’s roles have changed dramatically in the last two generations. Certainly when my mother was not allowed to play sports versus my big sister played four. But what we don’t see is a corresponding shift in expectations for men and boys, and that this is a problem not just in the United States, but we know that in Japan and other countries with low birth rates you have mismatches of men and women’s expectations for each other.
So I guess I find it striking that the two things that I didn’t feel like I heard enough were discussions of child care and discussions of masculinity. And of course, they’re linked because if dads would parent more moms could work harder. But also, if dads and men did more care, we might value those industries as opposed to here in the state where it’s often racialized women who care for our elders and our children at the lowest possible rates. So I’m curious if you could address those. Thank you.
BAYRASLI: That’s a great question.
FRY: Yeah, where this—where I’m—relates to this, is I sort of mentioned the great strides that women have made in terms of formal schooling. And a companion to that is the question as to, OK, why is it that young men aren’t keeping up, particularly in the educational sphere? And it’s been well-documented. And it’s an active area of research. But I would say it’s not well-understood, with the exception of the fact that there is a notion that particularly for racial ethnic minority males, often being raised by their opposite sex moms, that they don’t have the same-sex father role model in the home, and that that particularly may be contributing to some of their issues. But in general, we’re well-aware that young men are struggling in the U.S., particularly in the schooling front. I think it’s poorly understood as to exactly why.
BAYRASLI: Other thoughts?
BIGIO: I mean, I think it’s—right now the short hand is looking at paternity leave as a way to start that conversation of building that bond between the father and child at the outset and thinking that that will—and where the father is the main caregiver for, in Sweden and Scandinavian countries, it’s around two months, where they then are in charge of all the household work in that period, and that they do see some ripple effects from that on shifting the care work balance between men and women in the home, and the implications. So that’s kind of one of the, I think, key policy solutions right now.
But it’s fascinating, in Japan, as an example, there they’re pursued an initiative called Womenomics, because they were—Prime Minister Abe was convinced that to address the demographic challenges that they needed to bring women in the workforce. And they recognized that to do that they had to pursue a whole range of tax reforms, child care reforms, other reforms. But there was just an article a little while ago that documented the fact that despite all those reforms it hasn’t shifted the unpaid care work distribution. And so Japanese women are now working full-time jobs with high pressure to preform and coming home and doing all of the work in the home, right, because the broader social context hasn’t changed. And that’s—I mean, that’s—we do need to focus on that directly, and talk about that directly, and look at what are the policy reforms and incentives that we can put in place to try to encourage some shifts there?
AZZARELLI: I think, again, I’m going to take it to the media, because I’ve been in that business a little bit, and also, you know, the advertising. I think advertising and media has this incredible ability to shift mindsets. I don’t know if you’ve seen the Gillette ad, but the Gillette ad is kind of this unbelievable thing that P&G put out, which was sort of challenging what masculinity is, or what cliched masculinity could look like. And it had such an incredible reaction. (Laughs.) And I heard this—Marc Prichard who’s the CMO of P&G gave this extremely powerful talk last week about why Gillette was so important, and why they wanted to use the power of their advertising. And, you know, we’ve tried to really support and spread these new advertisements that are coming out that are shifting mindsets. Probably you guys saw the like a girl campaign from several years ago, which is redefining what it means to throw like a girl, and why is like a girl a bad—a bad connotation.
And so I think what we see in the media is really driving us, beyond what we realized. And I think we’re in this media storm right now where we’re so influenced, and our children are so influenced. We have a fast-forward girls program to help give these young girls, and boys, a better perspective. And I think, again, it’s this kind of how do we pull ourselves all up to a higher plane of living? And there’s so much noise. I mean, there’s just so much noise . And we’re in the middle of it. And it’s coming through our phones all day long, and everywhere we go. We kind of have to take responsibility to reject some of these myths and these popular narratives and try to reshape them. And so I’m all for sort of, you know, the storytelling aspect, and sort of showcasing in our work, at least, you know, positive stories of people, companies, organizations making change.
And I’m very open, by the way, to anybody in this room, in your research and whatever you guys are doing—I mean, your gender work—to share that, because it’s about sharing the best practices. And I think if we do that, it could catch on. You know, I think people really want something positive in their lives. I know I do. (Laughs.) And so, you know, it’s up to us who have this kind of power to do it, to do it.
BAYRASLI: I’m going to use the chair’s prerogative of asking the last question, since we just have a few minutes left. What is the conversation that we have twenty-five years from now?
FRY: I don’t know. Pew Research Center, we work—
BAYRASLI: Of right now? OK.
FRY: We do not prognosticate. (Laughter.)
AZZARELLI: I mean, look, if—I hope—and please, let’s say a collective prayer on this—I hope that we’re not having this exact conversation in twenty years, twenty-five years from now. I’m a big fan of Susan B. Anthony. I’m like a little bit of a fanatic. You know, I collected the silver coin when I was seven, or whatever. Like, I am—but it took her, you know, fifty years traveling—I say not by Uber or Lyft but by buggy—to fight for women’s suffrage in this country. And we can’t—we just cannot. With all the tools at our disposal, with everything that we know. But it’s going to require those of us, again, to have the ability to affect the conversation to take a little bit of ownership of that. And so, you know, I’ve spent the last two years building this tool so that we can all share best practices and get the right information out there.
And, you know, I think if we are intentional right now, we will not be having this conversation in twenty-five years. There will be a conversation. We will not solve this in twenty-five years. We will not get to 28 trillion by 2025, as McKinsey says, because we won’t close the gap by 2025. But I don’t think the conversation will be like this. I think this next generation, the generation underneath them, I mean, these guys have a different perspective. They need the good thinking, though, right? Like, they have access to everything. That includes—you know, I’m not going to pick on any particular family but, like, there’s other types of media out there that, you know, is also educating these kids. And so you guys, again, not to put too much pressure on the room, but it’s up to you. What conversation are we going to have in twenty-five years, right? Because you guys are shaping the next generations of minds.
And so really, thank you for what you all are doing.
BIGIO: I would say a few things that I hope. I hope that the conversation is a collective one, that we see this as a shared challenge, that we see diversity and inclusion in the workplace and in our society as something that is to all of our benefits, and everyone is at the table having that conversation. I worked in the U.S. government previously focused on advancing women’s and girls’ rights around the world. And too often there were only women and girls—women in the room at the table having that policy conversation. So to really make sure that we see this as a shared, collective goal, that’s one of my hopes.
The other hope is, I mean, research is critical. Let’s keep making the case. But I hope that the conversation has moved beyond that, and that we are really focusing on: What are the solutions? What’s making a difference? How are we closing these gaps?
BAYRASLI: Please join me in thanking Richard, Kim and Jamille. (Applause.)