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Minouche Shafik: Keeping talented women working is good for the economy

More women are now going to college than men, but much of that talent later goes to waste. Why? For London School of Economics Director Minouche Shafik, the problem is that we don't have systems in place to retain talented women in the workforce in crisis situations like the pandemic, when so many women had to quit their jobs and stay home to take care of their kids. "The talent of all of those women is a huge potential economic gain to our societies," she explains, so we need to find a way to better match them to (remote) jobs that suit their skills. "This is not just about inequality story; this is really an economic efficiency story as well."

She spoke during "Measuring what matters: How women are critical to pandemic recovery," a livestream conversation on October 28, 2021, hosted by GZERO Media in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

"Women fell between the cracks" during COVID — former UN Women chief

During the pandemic, former UN Women chief Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka says many women were "caught up in the crossfire that is not of their own making," accounting for two-thirds of jobs lost due to COVID. What's more, she adds, women forced into the informal job market to make ends meet had a hard time returning to formal jobs once lockdowns ended. And since government incentives didn't target them enough, "women fell between the cracks."

She spoke during "Measuring what matters: How women are critical to pandemic recovery," a livestream conversation on October 28, 2021, hosted by GZERO Media in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The pandemic’s impact on women and the global economy

What pandemic result will have the largest and longest-lasting impact on women? Is the world really building back better for half the global population? How can we ensure that the post-pandemic recovery is fair to women? And how does this all play into a wider GZERO world? A group of global experts debated these and other questions during a livestream conversation hosted by GZERO Media in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, moderated by eNCA senior news anchor Tumelo Mothotoane.

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US women soccer team’s fight for equal pay "because we're clearly the dominant team"

The World Cup-winning US women's soccer team won its sixth medal (bronze) in the Tokyo Olympics, and it's arguably the world's best squad in recent years. Meanwhile, the national women's team just filed its first brief to appeal an equal pay lawsuit ruling against the US Soccer Federation, one year after a judge rejected their claim that they were underpaid compared to the (way less successful) men's squad. GZERO World gets the latest on what comes next from two-time gold medalist and World Cup champion goalkeeper Briana Scurry and their lawyers.

Watch the episode: Politics, protest & the Olympics: the IOC's Dick Pound

Does alcohol help or harm society?

University of British Colombia professor Edward Slingerland says drinking makes us feel good and has historically encouraged socializing. But there are negative implications, as well. We now have the problem of "distillation and isolation": getting as much booze as you want and drinking alone, especially during the pandemic. There's a gender issue too: the "bro culture" associated with alcohol can exclude and even be dangerous for women. Not all regions have the same problems, though, as drinking habits vary widely. Watch Slingerland's interview with Ian Bremmer on GZERO World.

Watch the episode: The (political) power of alcohol

Women have borne the economic brunt of the pandemic

It's no secret that women around the world have shouldered much of the burden brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially when it comes to unpaid labor. As London School of Economics director Minouche Shafik points out in this week's episode of GZERO World, on average in the world women do two hours more unpaid work per day than men. And whether we're talking Norway or Pakistan, women have been doing more than their fair share for a long time before COVID hit. So how do women come back from what Shafik calls "the biggest change in the social contract in decades?" That's a major focus of this week's show.

Watch the episode: Is modern society broken?

Is modern society broken?

What does President Biden's "build back better" slogan really mean? If you asked him, he'd likely say that life after the pandemic shouldn't just be as good as it was before COVID hit…it should be better. Who would disagree with that? But beyond the sloganeering, the need to create a much improved "new normal" has never been greater. With global inequality on and extreme poverty on the rise, how do we patch up the many holes in the world's social safety nets? Renowned economist and London School of Economics director Minouche Shafik has some ideas, which she shared with Ian Bremmer on GZERO World.

The "global obsession" with controlling women’s bodies

When asked what most surprised her when she became the UN's top global advocate for gender equality, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka didn't hesitate. "The obsession about controlling women's bodies is really something that also shocked me when I got to the UN." The constant objections she fielded around women's rights and reproductive rights, regardless of where in the world they were coming from, was not something Mlambo-Ngcuka was prepared for. And that's especially true, she says, for the United States.

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