Oct 18, 2019

Women's equality reframed

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Slowing global growth and stagnating investment returns have created a fertile environment for a novel idea: gender equality. It has been front and center at the autumn IMF-World Bank meetings — now framed not as an altruistic appeal, but as an economic imperative.

Why it matters: New IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva looks to be bringing that imperative to the economic policy focused Fund rather than the philanthropically minded Bank, a major change for how issues of diversity and equality are viewed.

  • Among her top structural reforms, "opening up more space for women to participate in the labor market," Georgieva said during a panel on the global economy Thursday.
  • Not only has she stressed equal opportunities for women and girls in her remarks, it is also included in the Fund's official literature as a top priority for improving economic outcomes.

Why now: "Gender inequality hampers global growth and causes women to take on more debt, have lower pensions and higher poverty risk," Amlan Roy, State Street Global Investors senior managing director, declared in a presentation during the National Association of Business Economists conference earlier this month.

  • "The elimination of gender inequality is essential for macro growth, development and long-term economic welfare."

By the numbers: A study by S&P Global presented at the World Economic Forum this year found that by increasing women's numbers in the labor force the U.S. could contribute $4.5 trillion in market value, and that could have ripple effects that reach around the world.

  • An S&P study released Wednesday finds that firms with female CFOs were generated profits well above the market average.

There is a clear message being sent. Not only was the first session Georgieva took part in as managing director titled "Women, Work and Leadership" (and "not by chance" she told attendees), there has been an assortment of IMF presentations and panels dedicated to promoting women's opportunities.

What's next: A session this afternoon called "Unleashing the Potential of Women Entrepreneurs Through Finance and Markets" will feature the sole public appearance by Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon at the meetings along with Santander Bank Executive Chairwoman Ana Botín and World Bank President David Malpass.

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Kristalina Georgieva, the new managing director of the International Monetary Fund, applauded the Trump administration's "bravery to use a tax reform to spur more growth" in an exclusive interview with "Axios on HBO."

Why it matters: Georgieva vowed that she would be able to persuade the U.S. to commit more money to the fund during the course of her five-year term. "I will get my quota increase," she said — in the face of reported U.S. opposition and a U.S. veto over any changes.

Go deeperArrowOct 27, 2019

New climate consensus moves forward without the U.S.

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos by Win McNamee, Alex Wong, Horacio Villalobos - Corbis/Corbis, Oliver Douliery/AFP, and Noam Galai Via Getty Images

The world's top economic institutions are going deeper in the fight against climate change, and central banks are re-evaluating policies and pushing new principles to integrate climate-related risks into financial supervision, leaving the U.S. behind.

On one side: The effects of climate change are everywhere, European Central Bank chief economist Philip Lane said during the IMF's fall meetings last week.

Go deeperArrowOct 22, 2019

Women's Trump-era power surge

Illustration: Axios Visuals

A surge of female winners in this week's state elections — most of them Democrats, and many of them women of color — reflect women's rising political power since the 2016 election, AP reports.

Why it matters: Tuesday's results mean women will hold majorities in places like the Boston City Council, long seen by many as a "boys' club," and lead communities such as Scranton, Pa., where voters elected the city's first female mayor just weeks before she's due to give birth.

Go deeperArrowNov 9, 2019