Womenomics – Is It Worth Talking About Gender?
Women Prime Ministers and Presidents are no longer newsworthy. At least not everywhere. Company presidents are so many that, again, the gender of a company’s CEO is not at all a newsworthy issue. At least no one wonders that the Northern countries, Ireland and some of the others have no issues with women in business or politics and generally consider diversity in almost all areas of public life as a norm.
And yet there are still places where gender continues to be frowned upon, ridiculed and most often undiscussed as a topic of media stories unless it can be framed in a derogatory way. Such as the news about Serbia gaining its first female and gay Prime Minister. Sexual orientation is no longer a very sensitive issue when it concerns people at the grassroots. However, the sexual orientation of the people at the top is worth discussing though it has little to do with their professional competence. Or does it? Anyway this article is not going to be about sexual orientation at the top levels in politics or the economy. The intention of this article is to look at the way gender issues are covered or neglected in the media.
People from 62 countries from all over the world, entrepreneurs, senior executives, government ministers and parliamentarians came to Tokyo. The largest delegation came from China with 96 high-level entrepreneurs, then from Kazakhstan with 85 women business owners participating, Vietnam with 81 people led by Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh and four government ministers, South Korea with 66, the US with 57, 46 from the Philippines, and 44 from Spain.
For some years, I have attended a conference to which I was introduced by Cornelia Rotaru, the president of ADAF (the Association for the development of women entrepreneurship, www.adaf.ro), of which I, myself, am a member. I am a member because I am convinced that higher education cannot survive without strong entrepreneurship and commitment to the world’s real issues, not the ones that are “researched” and published in academic journals. Education (higher or otherwise) is about growing / educating people, not about doing research. The teaching and, consequently, learning components of schools of various levels have been slowly lost along the “glorious” road to internationalization and rankings. So, relatively bored and tired of academic conferences, I decided to venture into the world of business conferences – not easy, not comfortable and not at all convenient since the university has long ceased to contribute towards participation in such conferences.
I decided to join the 2013 Global Summit of Women in Kuala Lumpur and, since then, I have strived for a relatively regular attendance to all the yearly events. Each year, the Summit has a different topic. In 2017, the theme of the summit was “Beyond ‘Womenomics’ – Accelerating Access” and the event took place in Tokyo. To go to a conference in Japan is a great thing in itself, to go in May is truly a blessing. About 1,600 people attended the 2017 Global Summit of Women which means that more women and an increasing number of men took part in the Tokyo event than in any previous Summit.
So, what makes this event so attractive that for 27 years it continued to develop and is now called fondly or ironically depending on what your values and beliefs are, the equivalent of the World Economic Forum in Davos? It is a gathering in which women share and learn best practices in business, it is an opportunity for networking, discussions, inspiring presentations of issues and mainly solutions among a really global group of women leaders in business and government from all over the world.
So who are the people who come to the summit, where do they come from and what sorts of issues do they discuss there?
This May, people from 62 countries from all over the world, entrepreneurs, senior executives, government ministers and parliamentarians came to Tokyo. The largest delegation came from China with 96 high-level entrepreneurs, then from Kazakhstan with 85 women business owners participating, Vietnam with 81 people led by Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh and four government ministers, South Korea with 66, the US with 57, 46 from the Philippines, and 44 from Spain.