Concerned over slowing pace of closing the gender gap, IMF chief Christine Lagarde on Wednesday said technology can probably help and there are some ‘anecdotal’ cases from India where mobiles have helped women convey the harassment by their mothers-in-law.
Speaking at a World Economic Forum session alongside Lagarde, award-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy said mobiles have helped a lot of women in Pakistan whether for starting their own business or for reporting violence against them.
Lagarde said we have been talking about closing gender gap for so many years but things have not been moving forward fast enough.
Since 2008, we have seen a slowdown in the process for the gap to be closed, as per the research we are doing on this issue, she said. What has been done so far is not good enough to achieve the inclusive growth, the IMF managing director said.
Obaid-Chinoy said women are generally excluded from the decision making.
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“Men sit around a table and take decisions regarding the women,” she said, while giving one example from Pakistan where some women decided to take up decision making and when that happened violence in their village began to see a drop.
PwC Global Chairman Robert Moritz said it is an issue for everybody and only way to do is at policy destruction level as it is not going to happen naturally.
They were speaking at an WEF session on disrupting the status quo of gender roles.
Costa Rican activist Cynthia Castro, Vice President at Reinventing Business for All, said that we have grown in a culture that is biased against women may be unconsciously.
Noting that she was not an expert on technology and it’s possible role in checking gender gap, Lagarde gave example of India where technology has helped women convey their concerns including in cases when they were being harassed by their mothers-in-law.
She added this was just an anecdotal episode that she was referring to and therefore would not lean on it and also gave examples of some women checking on their husbands through mobiles on whether they picking kids from school.
Obaid-Chinoy said she has stopped answering questions like how it feels like being a female film maker or how do you juggle between your career and family life.
“I’m a film maker. What is a female film maker? Similarly have your ever heard a male CEO being asked how do you manage between your work and your family life?” she said.