by Carol Moore
More Work Is Needed to Empower Women to Reach Gender Equality in the US and Around the World.
On April 13th, Professor Linda Scott spoke to Democrats Abroad members on her research in gender equality contained in her book, “The Double X Economy: The Epic Potential of Empowering Women.” She has coined the term, “the Double X Economy” to represent the economy of women defined by significant constraints to women’s full economic participation, and the same pattern exists all over the world. This has only become evident with the collection of economic data by gender in the last 15 years.
As Professor Scott points out, this inequality has been exacerbated in the last year by the pandemic. Women’s employment is frequently clustered in some of the industries hit hardest by the pandemic, and they were forced in greater numbers to go back into the home in greater numbers than men.
Yet Professor Scott sees gender inequality as a structural phenomenon and demonstrates that it has deep historical roots. For example, women have been generally barred from holding land, the chief way wealth was generated, stored and transferred for millennia. This historic pattern continued into the twentieth century with over 80% of the arable land currently held by men. The gender pay gap is another example of a worldwide gender inequity. Here Professor Scott used a chart with the comparison of women’s wages in over 160 countries to men’s wages. The smallest gap was 20% (the United States and several European countries) while many countries had a much larger gap.
Professor Scott believes women need to campaign to break down the barriers which, in the US, actually have become worse under Republican administrations and, in particular, with some of the decisions of the Supreme Court under Chief Justice Roberts. She encourages us to be advocates to end, for example, forced arbitration agreements in employment contracts and to work to see that universal childcare is adequately funded.
The Women’s Economic Well-Being Leadership Initiative, which arranged for Professor Scott’s talk, will be following up on these ideas. For those that missed the talk, the recording is available on the DA Facebook page here.