From Mad Men to sad women

8 March is the centenary of International Women’s Day. This year, we mark the occasion with a series of blog posts about initiatives to strengthen gender equality worldwide. In this post, Kate Scrivens of the OECD’s Statistics Directorate looks at why women’s overall reported happinness has declined.

One of the most popular television shows on at the moment – “Mad Men” – portrays the lives of advertising executives in the early 1960s. It’s a world where doctors encourage smoking, lunchtime drinking is the norm, and the roles of men and women are very clearly and separately defined. Watching it is a reminder of just how much attitudes have changed in the last half-century, not least in terms of the vastly expanded options available to women today at home and in the work place. (more…)

Wikigender turns three years old today

8 March is the centenary of International Women’s Day. This year, we mark the occasion with a series of blog posts about initiatives to strengthen gender equality worldwide. In this post, Estelle Loiseau from the OECD Development Centre describes the OECD’s Wikigender project.

Today, Wikigender celebrates its third birthday. Launched on International Women’s Day by the OECD Development Centre three years ago, this web 2.0 knowledge sharing platform focusing on gender equality issues has become a global reference point.

Originally set up to bring the debate on gender equality closer to individuals by fostering opportunities for data sharing on measures of gender equality, Wikigender has now become a lively virtual space where academics, gender experts, policy makers, statisticians, economists, development practitioners and students can actively participate and contribute to the platform on a variety of gender equality issues. (more…)

The OECD Gender Initiative

8 March is the centenary of International Women’s Day. This year, we mark the occasion with a series of blog posts about initiatives to strengthen gender equality worldwide. In this post, Angelica Salvi del Pero of the OECD’s Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs describes the OECD Gender Initiative

It’s now official: the OECD has launched its Gender Initiative to strengthen gender equality in education, employment and entrerepreneurship, three crucial dimensions of economic opportunity.

There is no doubt that gender equality has still not been achieved. Not even in advanced economies. Despite the fact that girls on average do better than boys in school, women more often do not work, they are paid less and they progress less in their careers. Even though girls are just as good as boys in sciences, few of them choose to be trained and work as scientists. While many women start their own business, they tend to raise less funding and their businesses grow less. (more…)

Women: the future of our economies?

8 March is the centenary of International Women’s Day. This year, we mark the occasion with a series of blog posts about initiatives to strengthen gender equality worldwide. In this post, OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría looks at women’s role in the economy.

On the 100th Anniversary of the International Women’s Day, have we achieved equal opportunity, even in the developed countries? No, women are not equal on the labour market, in entrepreneuship or in politics.

Women spend twice as much time as men in unpaid caring activities. Women are still under-represented in key education fields such as science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Women are less likely to work for pay, tend to work less hours, have lower hourly wages, are concentrated in less well-paid sectors, etc. They are also less likely to reach decision-making positions, in either public or private sectors. In politics, women still hold only 20% of seats in Parliaments; only a very few country show parity in their governments; and only 15 women are Head of states or governments. (more…)

How to create an international movement for gender equality

8 March is International Women’s Day. This year, we mark the occasion with a series of blog posts about initiatives to strengthen gender equality worldwide. In this post, Jenny Hedman from the OECD DAC Network on Gender Equality talks to colleagues from the Netherlands about their fund for women’s organisations.

A few years ago, when the Dutch learned that funding for organisations supporting women’s rights was declining internationally, they decided to do something about it. “We felt more action was needed to achieve equality between men and women” explains Robert Dijksterhuis, who leads work on gender equality at the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs. An additional reason to make an extra effort was that gender equality and women’s empowerment is one of the 8 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that world leaders have set out to achieve by 2015. (more…)

Great expectations: Girls in school today

8 March is the centenary of International Women’s Day. This year, we mark the occasion with a series of blog posts about initiatives to strengthen gender equality worldwide. In this post, Andreas Schleicher of the OECD’s Education Directorate looks at performance in school and later. 

For most of the 20th century, educators and policy makers despaired over girls’ underachievement in school and sought ways to overcome the social and cultural impediments to girls’ equal access to education.

Results from the OECD’s most recent PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) survey, which directly involved more than half a million 15-year-olds (as proxy for some 28 million students) in 74 countries and economies (representing 90% of the world economy), show how many of those impediments have been toppled. (more…)

Women’s economic empowerment – it’s about money and more…

8 March is International Women’s Day. This year, we mark the occasion with a series of blog posts about initiatives to strengthen gender equality worldwide. In this post, Patti O’Neill, co-ordinator of the OECD DAC Network on Gender Equality, writes about gender-equality focussed aid in the economic and productive sectors.

“We stress that investing in women and girls has a multiplier effect on productivity, efficiency and sustained economic growth.” (para. 54 of Keeping the promise:  United to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

At last year’s Millennium Summit, investing in women’s and girls’ rights was front and centre – the breakthrough strategy for achieving all the Millennium Development Goals.  Even though it is often said that investing in gender equality yields some of the highest returns of all development efforts, are women central to the aid provided by OECD member countries to the economic and productive sectors? (more…)