What happened at La Pietra Coalition’s annual meeting last month? To keep you up to date with our efforts, we’re posting a five-part series with information from our meeting summarizing the work done in our five policy issue areas.
This is part two of the series, detailing the efforts and initiatives of the Labor Policy and Practice Working Group.
The Labor Policy and Practice Working Group’s main goals were focused on reviewing the policies of national governments that oppress women economically and also improving the integration of gender into the economic indicators countries use to define economic policy.
First, the working group discussed engendering the World Bank’s “Doing Business Report” and using the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Women’s Economic Opportunity Index as a tool to better engender economic indicators. They also talked about potentially integrating the agricultural and informal sectors into the index, in order to better represent where women are found in the economy.
“Ultimately the goal is to get countries to improve their policies to improve the lives of women and girls,” said Ritu Sharma, co-founder of Women Thrive Worldwide. “The ‘Doing Business Report’ is a means to do that because its already established.”
Furthermore, the group talked about specific domestic policies that may limit women in the workforce. Taxation policies keep women from exiting the informal sector and transitioning to the formal sector.
“Women are more taxed,” said Yassine Fall, a senior economist at UN Women. “Men are head of household in African countries. Women can’t claim their children on their taxes.”
Ms. Fall added that government officials won’t change their policies regarding taxation because it means the government will lose revenue and the country’s economy will rank lower on a global level.
The working group also discussed pay equity and who benefits from the gender gap that currently exists in the workforce. They also talked about inheritance laws that prevent women from inheriting land in certain countries. Many women work in agriculture, but they don’t own the land they work on, and have no way to inherit it.
To improve these discriminatory policies, the working group will collect best practices and approaches in order to to develop specific methods and asks from the Coalition to local governments, identify key partners with similar goals, and push for local government associations to adopt policies that help transition women from the informal sector to the formal sector and provide them with decent work in physical markets.
What do you think are the best way to address these policy issues? Can national governments be convinced to change their economic policies?
For more information on the Labor Policy and Practice Working Group and its goals, visit its page under the “What We Do” tab, or click here.