International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva urged leaders to push for gender parity in an event ahead of the Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.
Georgieva opened the talk, “Women, Work, and Leadership” by praising her predecessor, the first woman to lead the IMF.
“The woman before me that led the IMF, Christine Lagarde, she broke this glass ceiling. It was easier for me to come through – no cuts,” said Georgieva to applause.
The new managing director said the global economy is hampered by the issue of unpaid work, for example childcare, foraging for firewood and other labor often carried out by women. She said a recent study found that globally, women do 2.7 hours a day more unpaid work than men.
But, she says that varies widely from country to country, with women in Norway doing 20 percent more unpaid work than men. In other countries, the rate is far higher.
“For example, in Japan, it goes up to 380 percent. In Pakistan, it goes up to 1,000 percent. And that accordion from 20 percent to 1,000, universally means two things. And, I actually until I read this paper I didn’t realize what the serious economic issue this is. Of course, it means it is unfair, there is unfair distribution. But that is the minor issue. The bigger issue is it is inefficient,” said Georgieva.
She urged men to act along with women to pursue equality.
“Moving toward gender parity is actually good for everyone. It is good for women, but it is also good for men. There is no way for any society to prosper without tapping in the talent of all its people – men and women. It’s very simple, if you ignore part of your capabilities, you sure come short in terms of economic achievement.”