As the debate over American market capitalism takes center stage in thepresidential campaign, it’s a good time to focus on the relationship between economic growth and our senior population, since the greatest social movement of the coming decades will be our aging citizenry. As we work to harness the potential of this changing demographic group, presidential candidates might consider an interesting parallel with the integration of women into economic life in the last half of the 20th century.
Women's economic empowerment met steady opposition early on, based on the mistaken view that females would take jobs away from males. But as history has shown, an economy that includes women is an economy that grows. And a growing economy has room – and the need – for new entrants. If American market capitalism teaches anything, it is that we need to prevent barriers into economic life for people of all genders, races, and ages, and indeed, to help make these new entrants part of the very engine that drives growth. If it was never true that women would take men’s jobs, it’s equally untrue that keeping an aging workforce active will not take younger generations’ jobs, as has been documented by Axel Boersch-Supan in his groundbreaking work onintergenerational cohesion. He concludes, “…We find no evidence that the burden of population aging…is systematically related to broad array of indicators of intergenerational conflict”.
California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones announced the formation of an Insurance Diversity Task Force to consider and make recommendations about diversity in the insurance industry, including the diversity of corporate governing boards and procurement from diverse businesses.
"Insurance is a $125 billion industry in California," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. "I am hopeful this task force will help us identify, measure and increase what the insurance industry procures from California's minority- and service-disabled veteran-owned businesses."
According to the Small Business Administration and the Center for Women's Business Research, diverse business enterprises constitute one of the fastest-growing segments in the U.S. economy, with minority-owned businesses generating an estimated $1 trillion in annual revenue. MBEs also employ nearly 6 million workers, while women-owned businesses employ about 19 million people and generate $2.5 trillion in annual sales. Further, with more than 25 million veterans in the country, 1 in 7 small businesses are veteran-owned.
"Expanding small businesses - especially diverse and disabled veteran-owned businesses - will help turn our economy around,'' added Commissioner Jones. "The goal of this task force is to make it easier for the insurer community to contract with these talented enterprises."
Task force members will identify and promote insurance companies that are doing a good job on diversity issues, examine the diversity of insurance company governing boards, identify actions the Department of Insurance can take to encourage insurance companies to utilize diverse suppliers, and make recommendations for changes to the law. Commissioner Jones recently requested voluntary supplier diversity data from the top 200 insurance companies. Assembly Bill 53, authored by Assembly Insurance Committee Chairman Jose Solorio, would require top insurance companies to report their diversity efforts.
New report from American University's Women & Politics Institute, "Men Rule: The Continued Under-Representation of Women in U.S. Politics," details the results of a survey of nearly 4,000 leaders, all of whom are well-situated to run for office and why even with the emergence over the past ten years of high-profile women in politics, the authors find that the gap between women and men's interest in running for office is the same today as it was a decade ago.
Sylvia Ann Hewlett of the Center for Talent Innovation argues that, with the imminent retirement of the over 1,1000 F1000 directors over 70, demand is surging for a new generation of directors, one which better reflects the 21st-century marketplace.
Now nearly 100 years later, the dearth of women on America’s corporate boards is as striking as is the need for them. Women control nearly 75 percent of consumer purchasing decisions, yet there are still 29 Fortune 1000 consumer companies with no women on their boards, according to research by CTPartners, a global executive search firm. In a time of economic turmoil and political instability, male CEOs and directors repeatedly told CTPartners that having women in the boardroom leads to better-informed discussions and more thoughtful decision-making, sentiments backed up by a 2011 Catalyst studyshowing that major companies with three or more female directors outperformed companies with zero women on boards by 46 percent of return on equity – yet among the Fortune 1000, there are 144 boards that have no women directors, and women comprise fewer than 15 percent of all directors.
But there’s good news: More than 1,100 directors currently serving on F1000 boards are over 70 years old. With their retirement imminent, demand is surging for a new generation of directors, one which better reflects the 21st-century marketplace. How can qualified women ensure that they’re considered as candidates to fill those slots?
Chosen from a reader-nominated list, the lives and work of 21 Leaders for the 21st Century 2012 continue to impress; their work ranges from organizing trash pickers in Cairo, Egypt, to supporting female candidates running for the U.S. Senate. Many have spent decades perfecting their strategies; others have recently created their own approaches. All are clear that much more work needs to be done before women and girls enjoy full equality.
Last Friday in the "Forum" section of The Washington Post, political scientist Jeanne Zaino asked an important question: Given the fact that Iowa has no record of electing women to our legislature or as governor, should it have the distinction, honor and power of holding the first and very important caucus?
No. It should not have that honor. It's like rewarding it for sexist obstinacy. Trivializing and ignoring it's deplorable record is a way of rewarding bias, sexism and inequality. It's how we continue to pay lip service to the concept of gender equality without taking it to it's logical gender conclusion. Can you imagine a world where these gender numbers were reversed? Now, that would be a "boy crisis" you could really sink your teeth into.
I know that there are people and organizations, partisan and non-partisan, working very hard in Iowa and across the country to change this. Organizations like Emerge, She Should Run, The White House Project and Off The Sidelines, and others are dedicated to building infrastructures to address this imbalance at local, regional, state and national levels.
In August 2010, The Chicago Council announced an initiative to bring attention to the role of girls in rural economies of developing countries and identify opportunities to increase investment in women and girls as a tool for economic growth and social stability. Catherine Bertini, currently a Chicago Council senior fellow and Professor of Public Administration and International Affairs at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, served as chair of the project.
In 2005, at age 49, Arizona State University hired Lisa Love as vice president for athletics, the highest-ranking job in the department. Six years later she is one of just five women to occupy the top athletics administrative position at a Division I-A school.
Some believe the lack of women serving as athletic directors is about to change, with qualified women rising up the ranks. Others believe it would have changed already if not for qualified women — and men — who are happy occupying the No. 2 spot and who have no desire to take on the far more public role of athletic director.
Still others believe it's as simple as not having enough university presidents and chancellors willing to hire a woman to lead a major athletic department.
"I think it's a long journey that we've been taking for more than 40 years where half the population has said, 'Treat me fairly,'" said Chris Voelz, a former women's athletic administrator at the University of Minnesota and current leadership gifts officer at Women's Sports Foundation founded by Billie Jean King. "If we were to switch positions, would the men still be pleased with the position women have? To that end we have not arrived." ...
Barbara and Shannon Kelley critique a Swedish study, from the Institute for Labour Market Policy Evaluation (IFAU) and the Uppsala Center for Labor Studies (UCLS) at Uppsala University, that suggests that women managers are no more likely to eradicate the wage gap as their male counterparts.
The commitment to diversity must be more than superficial, the researchers say.
“There are organizations that are doing what research and popular practice tells them to do. They are showing pictures of diverse workers on their website and say they have a commitment to diversity, but they’re not really going beyond what people may see as simply window dressing,” said Kristyn Scott, lead author of the study, The Diverse Organization: Finding Gold at the End of the Rainbow, and a professor with Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Management. “That’s contrasted with an organization that has woven diversity into every fibre of its corporate culture and business practices.”
Scott and her co-authors, Professor Joanna Heathcote of University of Toronto at Scarborough, and Professor Jamie Gruman, University of Guelph, conducted a review of about 100 studies, mostly from the U.S. but some from Canada and elsewhere, from 1991 to 2009. They evaluated the studies based on six key advantages of corporate diversity as outlined by Cox and Blake’s framework, a U.S.-based study published in 1991, which are: recruitment, greater creativity, problem-solving, flexibility (better reaction to change), cost (employee turnover) and marketing (i.e. – stronger financial performance).