I've spent years covering national politics with a distinct specialty in women and politics, but here's one I've never heard before: According to the authors of a new International Monetary Fund report, nations would produce billions more in economic growth if women and men were equal.
I'm not saying the authors don't have a point, mind you. I'm only saying I've never heard it put quite that bluntly, especially by an international organization wielding expansive economic sway.
The standard line here in the States is that the private and public sectors waste much of their best talent if they don't include women (and persons of color) in high-level positions. Smart consumer products companies also know that if they don't have women at the top making decisions about what to produce, they overlook women as customers. And since women influence or control something like 80 cents of every consumer dollar spent, what savvy sales staff would consider bypassing or misunderstanding this powerful market?
But the IMF conclusions were much more forceful than to suggest companies might be overlooking customers if they discriminate.
The unofficial report suggests that the fund could use its influence over its 184 members to encourage governments to remove arbitrary discrimination and other measures to narrow the gender gap, London's Independent newspaper reports. The economists' survey of more than 40 rich and poor countries found the gender gap reduces economic growth while economic growth generally narrows the gap between the sexes.
Government removing discrimination? What a concept!