Date: 13 February 2019
Augusto Lopez-Claros, International Economist
Gender discrimination is often seen from a human rights perspective; it is a violation of women’s basic human rights, as embedded in the Universal Declaration, the UN Charter and other such founding documents. Moreover, there is overwhelming evidence that restrictions and various forms of discrimination against women are also bad economics. They undermine the talent pool available to the private sector, they distort power relationships within the family and lead to inefficiencies in the use of resources. They contribute to create an environment in which women, de facto, are second class citizens, with fewer options than men, lower quality jobs, lower pay, often the victims of various forms of violence, literally from the cradle to the grave. They are also not fully politically empowered and have scant presence in the corridors of power, whether as finance ministers, central bank governors, prime ministers or on the boards of leading corporations. Why is gender inequality so pervasive? Where does it come from? Does it have cultural and religious roots? And what are the sorts of policies and values that will deliver a world in which being born a boy or a girl is no longer a measure of the likelihood of developing one’s human potential? A look at some of these and other such difficult questions, drawing from the recently published book, co-authored with Bahiyyih Nakhjavani: Equality for Women = Prosperity for All: The Disastrous Global Crisis of Gender Inequality (St. Martin’s Press, 2018).
Augusto Lopez-Claros is on leave from the World Bank as a Senior Fellow at the Edmund Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Between 2011 and 2017 he was the director of the Bank’s Global Indicators Group, the department responsible for the Doing Business report and other international benchmarking studies. Previously he was chief economist and director of the Global Competitiveness Program at the World Economic Forum in Geneva, where he was also the editor of the Global Competitiveness Report, the Forum’s flagship publication. Before joining the Forum he worked for several years in the financial sector in London, with a special focus on emerging markets. He was the IMF’s Resident Representative in Russia during the 1990s. Educated in England and the United States, he received a diploma in Mathematical Statistics from Cambridge University and a PhD in Economics from Duke University. Recent publications include “Fiscal Challenges After the Global Financial Crisis: A Survey of Key Issues” (2014), “Removing Impediments to Sustainable Economic Development: The Case of Corruption” (2015), and Equality for Women = Prosperity for All (2018, St. Martin’s Press, with B. Nakhjavani). A list of recent lectures can be found at: www.augustolopezclaros.com. In May of 2018 Sweden’s Global Challenges Foundation awarded Lopez-Claros the New Shape Prize for his work (with Arthur Dahl and Maja Groff) “Global Governance and the Emergence of Global Institutions for the 21st Century.”
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