Welcome Remarks at the DAC GENDERNET – UN IANWGE Joint Workshop

gendernetPanel1Delivered on 31-10-2018 in Paris, France

Let me welcome you to the 15th joint workshop of the UN Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality and the DAC Network on Gender Equality, which we call the GENDERNET. We are delighted to be hosting you here at the OECD. Today’s theme of “making social protection, public services and infrastructure work for women and girls” sheds light on one of the most fundamental channels through which we can push for greater gender equality.

The OECD has been working on gender issues for decades, on education, entrepreneurship, employment. We have developed lots of analysis, data and policy recommendations on how to increase female empowerment and to achieve better gender equality.

But progress is slow, and gender parity is still a distant prospect in many countries. One thing that is of great importance when looking at the drivers of these gaps, is to look at how women are using their time, or how are they forced to use their time, what are their time constraints, what is preventing them from entering the workforce?

The OECD’s research on women’s time use, developed in close collaboration with UN Women, shows that in OECD countries, and indeed throughout the world, women spend more time in paid and unpaid work combined than men. [1] In countries like Korea, Japan, Mexico, Portugal, and Turkey, for example women undertake more than three-quarters of all unpaid work. In my country, Mexico, this means 4.5 hours per day, compared to the OECD average of 1.5 hours per day.

To redress the balance, we have to change the culture and incentives to have more men sharing these responsibilities. Paternity leave is a good start, but the OECD’s Uphill Battle report found that even though around two thirds of OECD countries offer paid paternity leave, uptake remains low. Korea for example offers men 12 months paternity leave, but no one takes it.

Many cultural and institutional factors inhibit the reduction and redistribution of unpaid care and domestic work through more equitable parental leave schemes.[2]

At the OECD, we have been looking at the effect of increasing access to and improving the quality of public services, social protection systems, and sustainable infrastructure. We have found that these elements can be enablers but without them, they are barriers.

Indeed, these elements are essential if we are to reduce the burden of such work on women and girls, especially in developing countries. Unfortunately, we know that policies and programmes in place today are not always designed with women and girls in mind.

While many countries are investing in more equitable economic and social policies, translating them into better outcomes for women and girls requires gender-focused design and implementation.

First, we need to consider that a lack of infrastructure can disproportionately affect women in developing countries, specifically lack of water, electricity, poor roads, and inadequate transport. For example, in developing countries, inadequate access to time-saving infrastructure, like water pipes and washing machines, increases the total time required for chores.

So in developing countries, like India and Pakistan for example, women spend around ten times as many hours on unpaid work as men.[3]

Women’s needs should be a greater focus of infrastructure development and authorities should provide and facilitate greater access to safe sanitation, electricity, transport, water especially for women in rural or marginalized urban areas.

We have seen the impacts of such investments in Ghana, for example, where our analysis of time-use data finds that having electricity at one’s house increases women’s time in paid activities (formal or informal) by 73 minutes and easier access to water decreases unpaid work time by 25 minutes.[4]

Furthermore, in a developing country context, our research has shown that involving women in the design phase of infrastructure projects in Nepal led to not only a reduction in unpaid care work, but also an increase in women’s decision-making power in the home and public sphere.[5]

By applying a gender lens to the design of public investment in infrastructure, and thinking more carefully about women’s needs, infrastructure can be an enabler to helping women save a great deal of time, opening them up to educational and professional opportunities.

Improving public services is also important to help women, by providing greater access to affordable child and elderly care, which can help reduce and redistribute the burden of unpaid work.

We see evidence of the benefits of this in Nordic countries where investments in subsidised childcare, care for the elderly, and paid parental leave for both mothers and fathers, has enabled the Nordic countries to reduce gender gaps in employment to the lowest levels of all OECD countries. This increase in female employment has boosted growth in GDP per capita in Nordic countries by as much as 20% over the past 50 years[6].

But, gender-conscious investments in infrastructure and public services are not enough.

We must also ensure that social protection systems take women into account, rather than reinforcing patriarchal family structures. Today, only 29% of the population is covered by comprehensive social security systems that include a full range of protections across the life course.[7]

This number sounds low, however, when you consider that these systems almost always target those engaged in uninterrupted, full-time, and formal employment, we begin to realise that these systems greatly exclude people based on gender. Women are more likely to hold informal part-time and non-standard jobs.

25.5% of employed women are engaged in part-time work, compared to only 9.2% of men.[8] And, given women do the majority of unpaid care work, they tend to interrupt their employment more frequently than men to take care of dependents. This means that, based on the way most social protection systems are constructed today, women are less likely to qualify for benefits, putting them at greater risk of poverty, vulnerability, and social exclusion throughout the life cycle.

We therefore need to create social protection systems that respect the value of unpaid domestic work and that follow the worker, not the job.

The good news is that we are learning how to better recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work unpaid care work and seeing that this can lead to inclusive growth that benefits society as a whole.

The OECD’s Policy Dialogue on Women’s Economic Empowerment has spent the last two years thinking about how interventions in social protection, public services and infrastructure can promote women’s economic empowerment in developing countries, specifically by reducing and redistributing women’s unpaid care work.

We also work with the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) whose Network on Gender Equality brings together the 30 DAC members to identify priorities and approaches to, and scale up funding for, gender equality and women’s empowerment.

The OECD is also pleased to be working so closely with many of your agencies, including UN Women, through the Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2017, on financing for gender equality and tracking the SDGs’ gender commitments, among other topics, the ILO on the gender pay gap, UNDP, through the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation, and many others.

Today’s workshop is an opportunity for us to hear about new initiatives and research related to making public services, social protection and infrastructure work better for women and girls.

Because these are elements that we have found can make a difference to women’s access to markets, to employment, and to greater independence and empowerment.

I am hoping that this learning can inform next year’s outcomes from the Commission on the Status of Women whose theme also revolves around public services, social protection, and infrastructure.

We must make sure that our public services, social protection systems, and infrastructure investments take women and girls into consideration, as it is one of the most effective areas we can leverage to achieve gender equality.

Thank you

[1] OECD (2017), The Pursuit of Gender Equality: An Uphill Battle, OECD Publishing, Paris. http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264281318-en

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid,

[4] OECD Development Centre

[5] No reference provided.

[6] OECD (2018), Is the Last Mile the Longest? Economic Gains from Gender Equality in Nordic Countries, OECD Publishing, Paris.

[7] 5 ILO. 2017. World Social Protection Report 2017-2019. Geneva. UN CESCR (United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights).

[8] OECD Employment Data.

Centre for Progressive Policy Inclusive Growth Conference Keynote: Days of Populism: Where next for a global movement for Inclusive Growth?

Delivered on 30-10-2018 at the Royal College of Physicians, London, England

Inequality is one of the greatest challenges we face today. Sadly, there has always been inequality between rich and poor. But the inequalities we’re seeing today are different; there are inequalities of opportunity and outcome, as well as income and they’re touching a larger majority than ever. In the 60s, if you had a job, you could more-or-less get by. You would have a house, perhaps even a car, and would be relatively comfortable. However, what we are seeing today, is that people are struggling to pay their bills, to afford a comfortable life, even when they are in work.

At the other end, there is an accumulation of wealth, power and influence. Just look at the average increase in CEO pay in the FTSE (foot-see) 100 last year, which went up by 23%, compared to average worker earnings rising by only 1.7%.[1] A worker on a median salary of 23 thousand pounds would have to work 167 years to earn the median annual pay of their boss. Compare this to 1965, when a worker had to work 20 years to earn their boss’ salary.[2]

Inequalities have worsened as market incomes have mainly gone to the rich and haven’t been redistributed. The richest 10% earn on average more than nine times the income of the poorest 10% in OECD countries, up from seven times 25 years ago. Inequality of wealth is worse: the top 20% of OECD households hold financial assets worth on average around 72 times those of the bottom 20%.

These inequalities accumulate over time. Disadvantages in education, employment, income and health build up and carry through into old age. Last week, the OECD released its Equality in Education report, which showed that disadvantaged pupils are two-and-a-half years behind more affluent peers in their education by age 15.

They then struggle to catch up, earn smaller salaries and may even lead shorter lives. A 30-year-old university-educated woman can expect to live almost 4 years longer than her lower-educated peers. For men this is a shocking extra 7 years.

As inequalities become entrenched, they prevent social mobility. In OECD countries, it would take a child born into a low-income family roughly 4 to 5 generations – or up to 150 years – to reach the average level of income. In the UK, this is slightly higher than the average at 5 generations, as people’s economic status is strongly related to that of their parents. Compare this to Denmark, where it is only 2 generations.

These disadvantages affect children’s mental health, confidence and educational performance. Our study showed that disadvantaged children in the UK are among the unhappiest in the whole OECD: only 15% of disadvantaged students in the UK feel satisfied with life. This is compared to the OECD average of 26%, and much lower than 50% in the Netherlands.

Regional inequalities are also concerning. In the UK, regional disparities are the highest across OECD regions: aggregate wealth in south-east England is 2.5 trillion pounds, compared to 370 billion pounds in the north-east of England.[3] Life expectancy in Blackpool is much lower than in Surrey because of much higher rates of health complications linked to poverty and lower education.[4] This leads to “geographies of discontent”, which we saw play out in the Brexit referendum.

There are also gender inequalities: wage gaps remain at an average of 15% across the OECD in terms of the median monthly pay gap for full-time employees.

Of the FTSE 100 CEOs, only seven are women. Women are less likely to be in the workforce: in 2015, 67% of women in OECD countries were in the labour force compared to nearly 80% of men.

There is also a risk that, if not handled carefully, digitalisation in the labour market could exacerbate inequalities. Accelerated job displacement due to automation is more likely to affect lower-skilled workers, who will need support and retraining to find another job. The OECD estimates that 14% of jobs will be susceptible to automation, with another 32% that will significantly change.

We’re also seeing “winner-takes-most dynamics”, where a few firms – especially in the platform economy – pull away from the rest. They can capitalise on data generated by their users, which allows them to amass large quantities of data, harness and exploit it, to use to their competitive advantage. They can destabilise markets as more traditional firms cannot compete with the lower transaction costs. But who owns this data? Who has a right to it? Who controls it? We have insufficient global governance on cross-border data flows to manage this. We also need international cooperation to ensure fair competition. These structural changes in our economies may leave many people, regions, industries behind.

And of course these trends go hand in hand with what we observe in the economy. Aggregate productivity growth has been stagnant or increased very slowly in most of OECD. This partly reflects the widening dispersion in multifactor productivity across firms, which is in turn associated with lower wages for workers. This has first-order implications for growth and inequality: the dispersion of productivity represents a non-negligible drag on aggregate productivity: increasing these firms’ productivity to the level of the median firm (i.e. by 60%) could increase aggregate productivity by 6%

But the productivity laggards are a diverse bunch!

The bottom 40% of the productivity distribution, represent over 30% of employment, typically younger, smaller than median firm, with a much higher rate of entry, exit and reallocation

They grow faster than median firm, especially if they are larger and more capital intensive.

Laggards are not only “zombie” firms, but also entrants firms with high potential for growth!

There is also a huge digital gender gap that requires action; later today I will be launching the OECD’s new report on this, at Chatham House.

Policy proposals

So what do we do? To build an inclusive growth model, first we must move away from the old mantra of neoliberal economics that promoted “growth first, redistribute later”. We need policies that have equity considerations ex ante, not ex post. We need to develop policies that prioritise the reduction of inequalities, and which put people at the centre.

The OECD’s Inclusive Growth Framework, released in May, advocates three strands of action:

First, governments must invest in people and places that have been left behind. We need an empowering state that invests in quality and affordable health services, education, and housing. In the UK, the median housing cost burden for tenants is 28% of disposable income, five percentage points higher than the OECD average.

Governments must also provide equal opportunities to life-long training and education to equip people with skills for the future, including technical, professional, and social-emotional skills. This is especially important for women and other marginalised groups.

These should be seen as investments and not budget costs, because this is not only about equity.

The OECD’s work on the Productivity-Inclusiveness Nexus shows that these two components are mutually reinforcing. Investing in human capital of children from low-income families supports growth and inclusiveness. Providing workers with quality jobs improves their living conditions, boosts demand, and reduces government spending to address social problems. In the UK, greater investment should go to the post-industrial towns, and I know this government has its Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine projects.[5]

Second, job opportunities can be created through policies that strengthen market competition, stimulate business dynamism and support inclusive labour markets.

Governments must facilitate diffusion of technology and innovation throughout the economy; provide incentives to invest in R&D and new digital equipment can help lagging firms catch-up. We must also update social protection systems to ensure benefits follow the worker, not the job. This is especially important for non-standard workers. Offering early support to displaced workers is also necessary.

Enhanced social dialogue is also powerful for promoting labour and social rights throughout value chains to reduce global inequality.

Third, we need to rebuild trust with efficient, transparent and responsive governments. What we’re seeing in many places are the effects that skewed distribution are having on the governance of countries. Being wealthy can often buy access to political influence and decision-making. Inequalities of income and wealth can translate into political inequalities. A concentration of wealth, power and influence at the top becomes a vicious cycle that doesn’t usually lead to transparent and fair institutions that deliver for the everyday person.

We need to break this concentration of wealth, power and influence at the top with good governance. Governance is the difference between the Nordics, and the more unequal countries in the world, like mine – Mexico.

All these elements need to be part of a holistic economic strategy, not only focused on social policies. For example, when treasuries look at monetary policy, they should also consider the distributional impact.

We know, for example that the financialisation of the economy is one element that can explain the poor distribution of wealth. This is especially relevant to the UK with London as a massive financial hub, where a high concentration of financial sector workers earn large salaries that are decoupled from productivity, compared to other sectors. We also see an unequal distribution of stock market wealth, which is concentrated among high-income households who get most of the income and capital gains generated through capital markets. The benefits are not being felt throughout the UK, but rather remain locked in London and the South East.

So we need to consider the impact of policies holistically and change our perceptions of what is important. We need to get the metrics right and start looking at the more nuanced elements for life satisfaction: are people happy? Are they hopeful about the future? Are there opportunities for their children? At the OECD, our New Approaches to Economic Challenges is doing just this.

Taking comprehensive actions that put people at the centre of public policy is urgent for inclusion, and to ensure a fairer redistribution of wealth and resources.

If nothing is done, we will see further public frustration, divisions and potentially more extreme political outcomes.

We’re already seeing falling levels of public trust in governments and a rise of populist sentiments with more protectionist and isolationist political agendas. People are understandably angry and looking for alternatives.

This is concerning.

Greater economic nationalism will hurt in the long-run: increased market concentration, state ownership of business and restrictive product market regulations lead to reduced domestic competition. On the macro scale, rising protectionism will slow productivity growth and stunt job creation. It also endangers international cooperation in climate change, digital trade and taxation – where multilateral action is urgently needed.

Of greater concern is rising intolerance, rejection of difference and division in societies. It is perhaps a natural human instinct to look for a common enemy when faced with disadvantage. But the growing public discourse in OECD countries of blaming the “Other”, especially around the topic of international migration, will have no good outcome.

These divisions spread hatred, break trust and weaken social cohesion. We must bring evidence and nuanced views to the public debate on difficult issues and put people’s wellbeing at the centre of public policy. We must provide opportunities and hope for future generations.

The OECD can provide the data, analysis and policy recommendations to help achieve more inclusive, resilient, happier societies, and opportunities for our children. Because happiness in the present is often linked to hope for the future.

Thank you.

[1] CIPD and High Pay Centre, Executive Pay: Review of FTSE 100 Executive Pay, 2017

[2] Economic Policy Institute, CEO compensation surged in 2017, August 2018

[3] UK Office for National Statistics, Wealth and assets survey July 2014 to June 2016. Includes property, belongings, financial assets and private pensions.

[4]The Lancet (Oct 2018), Changes in health in the countries of the UK and 150 English Local Authority areas 1990–2016: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016

[5] Conservative Government initiatives designed to invest in schools, transport, infrastructure and businesses

Launch of OECD Report: Bridging the Digital Gender Divide: Include, Upskill, Innovate

Delivered 30-10-2018 in London, England

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you for joining today for the launch of the OECD’s report: Bridging the Digital Gender Divide.

First, let me thank the Government of Australia, who provided financial support for this research to help implement the G20 Roadmap for Digitalisation; to Chatham House for hosting this launch and, to the report’s lead author, Mariagrazia Squicciarini, who worked tirelessly on these important findings.

I want to speak to you today about digitalisation, and in particular, I want to focus on the growing gender divide that is going unnoticed.

Let’s look at the broader context. The digital revolution is fast transforming our world. It’s providing us with immediate access to a wealth of information and data, facilitating social and business networks, and greatly reducing transaction costs allowing our economies to grow more efficiently.

Platform economy jobs offer us increased flexibility in work life, enabling a better work/life balance, different working hours or remote working.

Almost half of the world’s population is connected to networks, compared to just 4% twenty years ago, which helps include groups often excluded from the labour market, such as people with disabilities, migrants or new parents.

However, the digital transformation presents challenges for workers, firms and policy-makers, at a time when inequalities are increasing.

We know that the future of work, the disappearance of traditional jobs with the rise of automation and AI is causing anxiety. Based on current trends, the OECD predicts that 14% of jobs in OECD countries are at a high risk of being automated, and an estimated additional 32% – will change considerably. Automation threatens low-skilled and routine jobs more than high-skills ones.

Business is also operating differently. A handful of platform economy firms are pulling away from the rest as they harness data they collect and exploit it to their competitive advantage. They can scale without mass, have no fixed costs, few tangible assets, such as buildings and employees, and low marginal costs. Traditional firms cannot compete and they lose out in terms of market share, attracting talent, and gaining access to capital and technology. This “winner-takes-all” dynamics will have an effect on the labour market, and could leave many people, regions, industries behind.

To manage the risks and allow people to benefit from digitalisation, we have to invest in people now, to have the right technical skills, the right socio-emotional skills and self-confidence to adapt to change. Displaced workers will need to receive support to find new work, and be re-skilled and up-skilled to adapt to the new way of working.

This will be especially important for women, who are already lagging behind in the digital world, where historical gender gaps from the analogue world are magnified.

Hurdles to access, affordability, lack of education as well as inherent biases and socio-cultural norms curtail women and girls’ abilities to benefit from opportunities offered by the digital transformation.

This report shines a light on these gaps in the digital economy today, and proposes policy measures to ensure the digital economy is gender inclusive.

Let me start with some facts:

The global digital gender divide in Internet usage has remained at 11% since 2013. The gap in least developed countries has increased by 3%. Africa saw a 4% increase in the Internet usage gender divide. So the gap is widening. Women are simply not as digitally present: worldwide women are on average 26% less likely than men to have a smartphone and to access mobile internet – that’s roughly 327 million fewer women. This is especially true in developing countries: in South Asia women are 70% less likely to have a smartphone.

Digital technologies can be a source of economic empowerment for women, bringing a new source of inclusive global economic growth.

Mobile money has opened up channels for women’s entrepreneurship and resilience, and can boost financial inclusion.

So not having women connected poses a great challenge to women and countries’ development.

Our data show that women are less confident when using digital tools and use them less than men. Aas shown in this graph, fewer women are likely to own and use a mobile money bank account. To address this, promoting digital inclusion through measures like online or video-based upskilling and tutorials could promote greater financial inclusion and empowerment.

When it comes to education more specifically, in OECD countries, we’re seeing few women graduating in ICT subjects, only 25% on average in 2015, despite more women than men completing tertiary education (in 2015). The UK doesn’t fare well at only 19%, compared to Canada at 30%. India is at 45%.

We need to address the divergences in career paths early. Because by age 15, gaps between boys and girls are already emerging.

This is because most education systems introduce gender-based biases and stereotypes that discourage girls from pursuing subjects that are more technical. Young women internalise these stereotypes and thus establish very limited expectations about their own potentials and futures. The effects of this internalisation are clear.

At 15 years, on average across OECD countries, only 0.5% of girls wish to become ICT professionals as compared to 5% of boys. Twice as many boys as girls expect to become engineers, scientists or architects. These gender specific expectations about the future need to change. The UK is actually taking action here, and is one of only two countries along with France, that has a time-bound target to increase uptake of STEM subjects in girls: the UK aims at a 20% increase in the proportion of girls taking A-levels in STEM subjects between 2016 and 2020.

These divergences from a young age translate into the working environment.

The UK does slightly better than other G20 countries when it comes to female ICT specialists as a percentage of the workforce, slightly above Germany, Italy, Japan, Australia, but behind the US and Canada. But as you can see, the numbers are very low. And in the UK, most of the participants in the online platform economy – the fastest growing digital sector – are men; in the UK, approximately 69% of workers in the gig economy are male.

This is also the case in innovation and start-up financing. Today, new technology and the big players in the platform economy are often concentrated. Only 250 firms globally generate 70% of R&D and patents, and 44% of trademarks. Currently, women-owned start-ups receive 23% less funding and are 30% less likely to be acquired or to issue an initial public offering – compared to men-owned businesses in OECD countries.

Thus, the profits from technological growth are accruing to a highly privileged elite, and more alarmingly, an exclusively male elite.

Female participation in patenting activities increased at a faster pace than the average rate of patenting over the period 2004-15.

But the low starting point coupled with slow progress means that it will be over sixty years before women are involved in half of all patented inventions. This is damaging broader potential, as data show that inventions featuring at least one female inventor in the team are on average of a wider scope, and therefore are more valuable overall, yet, female participation in inventive activities and innovation remain low. The UK is towards the lower end of the scale, with 8.4% of patents invented by women between 2010-15, above Germany (5.2%), but behind France (10.7%) and India (13.2%).

I also want to highlight another angle. Women are not present in the design or creation of this technology, and software development is a highly male-dominated club. Let me give you one finding from the study about contributors to the open source programming language “R”, which is a widely used tool for analysing and mining big data for machine learning.  77% of software packages for “R” were created by teams composed only of men, while 86% of downloads of R-based software packages were from these male-only teams.

This is particularly worrying, given the growing importance of “big data” analytics and the consequences of gender bias creeping in – we’re potentially passing on gender biases and cultural discriminatory norms to machines, through algorithms and through the next generation of AI.

This is already happening: recently Amazon discarded an AI recruitment algorithm, which it felt was not performing proficiently. The tool had been designed to quickly and efficiently learn what had made a successful Amazon candidate in the past, and apply that learning to future recruitment, sorting applications and offering interviews. In terms of output, it scanned CVs and applications and selected candidates. However, Amazon had to close the recruitment programme. Why? Because the AI machine had actually learnt the discriminatory practices of the past and had taught itself that male candidates were superior to female candidates.

While this progamme is closed, what is clear from this example is that we are at a cross roads for the digital economy. We need to ensure that we use digital tools like AI to help us correct our own hidden biases.

This requires that the development of these tools reflect the diversity we want and not replicate or worsen the current status quo.

To achieve this, we need to ensure that under-represented groups, especially the half of the planet that is female, play a more significant role in shaping the digital transformation.

As automation continues to change the skills demanded of workers, we need to ensure that curriculums equip women with greater self-organisation, management, communication, and advanced numerical skills so that they can compete. This is especially important when it comes to ICT skills as the OECD has found that women gain higher returns from ICT skills than men. This means that equipping women with better ICT skills can even help narrow the gender wage gap.

What’s more, our report finds that women have the potential to gain the most from technological innovation. Digital technologies offer significant leapfrog opportunities for women.

The Internet, digital platforms, mobile phones, and electronic payments offer women the possibility to earn additional income, increase employment, and gain greater access to knowledge and information. The flexible hours and greater control over their personal time, earning total and time saved in commuting is valuable when juggling other commitments. Women undertake the majority of unpaid care, spending 2.6 times longer than men on domestic work. In my country, Mexico, this means 4.5 hours per day, compared to the OECD average of 1.5 hours per day.

The root causes of all this are multi-faceted and complex. They include hurdles to access, such as affordability of new technology; the absence of educational opportunities and lower levels of technological literacy and skills; discrimination and existing inherent gender bias and socio-cultural norms.

In terms of solutions, the focus needs to be on putting in place concrete policy actions fostering women and girls’ full participation and inclusion in the digital economy, while at the same time addressing ingrained stereotypes and social norms that lead to discrimination and even violence against women.

First, it’s important to have targeted educational programmes to encourage girls and women to become involved in STEM programmes, as the UK is doing.

Second, the OECD is also encouraging G20 countries to adopt national digital strategies and skills strategies that actively aim to close gaps in digital access, adoption and usage, and improve affordability of digital technologies, while offering women opportunities to pick up the complementary skills that are in high demand in digital intensive sectors, such as managing and communicating, or self-organisation.

Third, and quite simply, it comes down to actions that we all know: getting more women into the labour market partly by ensuring job quality and providing flexible policies that allow women to work while having a family. We also need to be encouraging men to take paternity leave and to share the domestic work. There also need to be actions to allow for a better redistribution of unpaid childcare and housework and more investment into targeted life-long training.

Linked to this, governments should encourage female entrepreneurship and engagement in innovation industries through incentive schemes, as well as policies that aim at balanced gender representation on company boards and research teams.

It is also vital that governments regularly collect and publish key data, based on a common methodology, so that international organisations, citizens, and the policy makers themselves can fundamentally understand this ever-changing situation.

Finally, to guarantee inclusivity, governments must also ensure that the digital world is safe.

Access to the digital world should be seen as a fundamental right. Online harassment and bullying must be effectively tackled, with countries prohibiting gender-based violence in digital spaces and protecting women’s rights to participate in the digital economy. We need to teach girls and boys to be “digitally literate” when online, so they can be resilient and wise when using social networks or when confronted by cyberbullying, which can affect girls’ self-confidence, a growing source of mental health problems.

We also need to be aware of the impact of social networks and increased use of digital platforms can have on children’s self-image especially girls. The diffusion of images of women and of traditional stereotypes on social networks can be harmful and have a negative effect on girls’ self-perception and self-confidence. We need more female role models and to instil in girls the ability to distinguish between positive and negative portrayals of women.

Countries also need to get the legal and regulatory frameworks right.

With these changes, the opportunities could be significant, not only for women, but also for the whole of economy and society, as we release the full potential of the digital economy.

Today we stand at crossroads, and a choice between progress or repetition. This report, if implemented correctly will help put us firmly on the path of progress, and will help set an ambitious course for achieving digital gender equality.

Thank you.

Oxfam et le Development Finance International: Indice de l’engagement à la réduction des inégalité

Bonjour à tous, toutes.

Je voudrais remercier Oxfam de m’avoir invitée et pour leur efforts pour inciter  les pays et les institutions à  la nécessité de réduire les inégalités. L’OCDE est engagé dans ce domaine depuis longtemps.

Les inégalités sont l’un des plus grands défis auxquels nous sommes aujourd’hui confrontés. Alors que la croissance revient après la crise financière de 2008, les inégalités de revenu, de chances et de résultats restent saisissantes.

Même dans les pays de l’OCDE, les 10 % les plus riches gagnent en moyenne environ dix fois plus que les 10 % les plus pauvres, contre sept fois il y a 25 ans. L’inégalité de richesse et des opportunités sont les plus marquantes. Il y a une dynamique inquiétante parce-que les opportunités et la richesse sont très concentrées au sommet  de l’échelle de revenu, tandis que la privation est aussi concentrée  au niveau  inférieur de l’échelle  de la population. Mais on parle de 40% en bas de l’échelle, contre 10% au sommet ! Même dans les 10 pour-cent, les inégalités existent.

Ces inégalités s’accumulent au fil du temps. Les données de l’OCDE montrent que les inégalités au niveau de l’éducation, de l’emploi, des revenus et de la santé commencent dès le plus jeune âge, et que leurs effets se poursuivent jusqu’à la vieillesse.

Si vous êtes nés pauvre, il est probable que vous allez mourir pauvre. Plus troublant encore : les enfants issus de milieux défavorisés ont des salaires inférieurs et vivent moins longtemps ; l’OCDE a montré qu’il existe un écart de longévité de sept ans entre les personnes ayant un niveau d’instruction élevé et celles ayant un faible niveau d’instruction.

Ces inégalités se pérennisent, et bloquent l’ascenseur social. Ainsi, dans les pays de l’OCDE, il faudrait en moyenne 4 à 5 générations, soit 135 ans, pour qu’un enfant né dans une famille à faible revenu atteigne un niveau médian de revenu.

On observe aussi des inégalités persistantes entre les hommes et les femmes : ces dernières sont affectées de manière disproportionnée par la quasi-totalité des facteurs qui alimentent les inégalités.

Malgré les progrès récents, les femmes sont toujours moins susceptibles que les hommes d’avoir un travail : en moyenne, dans les pays de l’OCDE, 67 % des femmes faisaient partie de la population active, contre quasiment 80 % des hommes en 2015. Dans les pays en développement, et le mien inclus, le taux de participation est de 45% !

Les perspectives mondiales sont encore plus alarmantes : selon les estimations, la moitié la plus pauvre de la population du monde reçoit aujourd’hui moins de 9 % du revenu mondial, tandis que les 1 % les plus riches en perçoivent 20 %.

Inégalité rime aussi avec pauvreté et faible croissance : en Afrique, si le niveau des inégalités avait reculé au niveau de l’Asie, 130 millions de personnes supplémentaires auraient pu sortir de la pauvreté.[1]

Douze des vingt pays du monde où les inégalités sont les plus marquées se trouvent sur le continent africain. Les huit autres sont en Amérique latine.[2]

L’OCDE s’intéresse également aux nouvelles formes d’inégalités en ce qui concerne les technologies numériques.

Des risques comme l’automatisation, l’accélération des suppressions d’emploi et l’instauration d’une dynamique du « presque tout au gagnant » qui voit un petit nombre d’entreprises se détacher du reste du peloton, pourraient présenter des risques. On observe aussi une fracture numérique entre les hommes et les femmes, qui est de 11 % et qui va en s’aggravant.

Toutes ces évolutions ne sont pas sans conséquences ; on le voit dans le recul de la confiance du public dans les gouvernants qui, à 42 % en 2016, a chuté dans les pays de l’OCDE. On le voit aussi dans les urnes, avec des électeurs qui se tournent vers des programmes politiques protectionnistes et populistes.

Bien sûr, on peut comprendre la colère des citoyens : les politiques et les systèmes existants n’ont pas produit de résultats justes, et n’ont pas placé  l’humain et son bien-être au cœur des préoccupations.

Nous avons trop mis l’accent sur une logique consistant à achever la croissance, et ensuite  s’occuper de la  distribution, et enfin  de l’environnement. Il faut changer cet état des choses, et commencer par adresser les inégalités pour achever une croissance forte et durable.

Dès lors, il n’est pas étonnant que les ODD[3] soient spécifiquement axés sur les inégalités, comme un objectif en lui-même, en même temps que la réduction de la pauvreté.

Nous devons nous inquiéter, non seulement pour le manque de revenus et de moyens de réussite  de la base de la population, mais aussi de la concentration en haut de l’échelle de revenus.

Et Oxfam a joué un rôle majeur dans cette prise de conscience, et je les félicite pour la présentation à Bali, la semaine dernière, de l’Indice de l’Engagement à la réduction des inégalités.

Alors, que doivent faire les gouvernements ?

Depuis une décennie, L’OCDE  travaille sur cette question et en 2012 a lancé son Initiative pour la croissance inclusive, pour répondre à la crise financière et montrer que les choses devaient changer.

En mai, nous avons publié notre Cadre d’action pour les politiques de croissance inclusive, qui s’articule autour de trois grands axes pour la réduction des inégalités :

Premier axe : investir dans les individus et les lieux qui ont été laissés pour compte. Nous avons besoin d’un État émancipateur qui investisse dans des services de santé, d’éducation et de logement abordables et de qualité pour aider les citoyens à réussir.

Les pouvoirs publics doivent aussi donner à tous des chances égales de formation et d’éducation en misant sur l’apprentissage tout au long de la vie. C’est particulièrement vrai pour les femmes et les autres groupes marginalisés : il faut davantage de femmes dans les disciplines STIM.

Ces efforts devraient être considérés comme des investissements et non comme des coûts budgétaires puisque, à la fin, tout le monde y gagne.

Deuxième axe : soutenir la dynamique des entreprises et œuvrer en faveur de marchés du travail inclusifs. Pour cela, il faut actualiser les systèmes de protection sociale et faire en sorte que ce soient les prestations, et non l’emploi, qui soient attachés à un travailleur, surtout dans le contexte de la révolution numérique.

Les gouvernements devraient aussi s’employer à stimuler la productivité et la dynamique des entreprises par une meilleure diffusion de la technologie et de l’innovation. Améliorer le dialogue social est également un moyen puissant de promouvoir les droits des travailleurs et les droits sociaux. Oxfam et l’OCDE œuvrent ensemble pour atteindre cet objectif dans le cadre de l’initiative Global Deal, dont je sais que Pierre Habbard parlera plus tard.

Mais je voudrais aussi parler de la fiscalité. Les citoyens ont un autre motif de colère : ils voient que certains respectent les règles et que d’autres, généralement ceux qui ont les moyens de le faire, peuvent s’en affranchir.

Nous voyons les très riches et les grandes entreprises échapper à l’impôt. Les travaux conjoints de l’OCDE et du G20 sur le BEPS[4] luttent contre la fraude fiscale et promeuvent la transparence. Près de 80 milliards de dollars ont déjà pu être ainsi récupérés. Or, ces recettes supplémentaires peuvent être réinvesties plus massivement par les gouvernements dans les services publics.

Troisième axe : nous devons rebâtir la confiance à travers des pouvoirs publics efficients et réactifs. Ce que nous voyons dans bien des endroits, ce sont les conséquences d’une redistribution biaisée sur la gouvernance des pays. Être riche vous permet d’avoir de l’influence politique et du poids dans les décisions. Les inégalités de revenu et de patrimoine se traduisent souvent en inégalités politiques.

Pour rétablir la confiance, nous avons besoin d’une bonne gouvernance.

L’équité est une dimension qui doit être intégrée a priori dans la conception de l’action publique. Nous devons aussi revoir nos instruments de mesure : nous avons tous, donné trop d’importance à la mesure du bien-être matériel, comme le PIB par exemple, au lieu de nous intéresser à des aspects de la satisfaction à l’égard de l’existence : y-a-t-il un espoir pour nos enfants ? Y-a-t-il égalité  des opportunités ? Y-a-t-il un niveau de satisfaction  acceptable en ce qui concerne la santé ?

C’est précisément ce que nous faisons à l’OCDE, avec notre initiative Nouvelles approches face aux défis économiques ou notre indicateur du vivre mieux : nous nous penchons sur d’autres facteurs pour faire en sorte que l’humain soit au cœur des décisions publiques.

Tout cela vaut aussi pour les pays en développement. L’aide internationale existe, mais pourrait être beaucoup plus efficacement ciblée.

Par exemple, l’APD[5] se compose de plus en plus d’aide humanitaire au lieu de prendre la forme d’investissements à long terme en faveur de l’éducation, la santé, des institutions et des systèmes

Là encore, la fiscalité joue un rôle déterminant ; les pays en développement devraient améliorer la structure de leurs systèmes fiscaux afin de permettre une redistribution plus efficace. L’emploi importe aussi : les gouvernements doivent s’attaquer à l’économie informelle, un problème particulièrement aigu en Amérique latine, en créant des emplois et en étendant la protection sociale aux travailleurs informels.

Les ODD sont multidimensionnels pour une bonne raison.

L’OCDE s’y emploie avec force.

Vous pouvez donc compter sur nous pour soutenir vos travaux si précieux.

Voilà le message que je souhaite faire passer auprès de vous : certes, des mesures peuvent être prises, mais ce qui fera la différence, c’est la bonne gouvernance des pays et mesurer ce qui est vraiment important – le bien-être des populations, et mettant l’accent sur la réduction des inégalités. Toutes les politiques doivent être révisées pour  contribuer à  cet objectif.

Regardez les pays nordiques : nous devrions nous inspirer davantage de leur exemple et apprendre de leur réussite.

L’agenda de la croissance inclusive demandera de gros efforts, et beaucoup de coopération. Grâce à des partenariats et débats innovants comme ceux d’aujourd’hui, nous pouvons réussir si nous mettons tous, l’accent sur une croissance inclusive plaçant le bien-être au cœur de l’action, partout dans le monde.

[1] Entre 1990 et 2016.

[2]. 1. Afrique du Sud ; 2. Namibie ; 3. Haïti; 4. Botswana ; 5. Suriname ; 6. Zambie ; 7. République centrafricaine ; 8. Lesotho ; 9. Belize ; 10. Eswatini ; 11. Brésil ; 12. Colombie ; 13. Panama ; 14. Guinée-Bissau ; 15. Rwanda ; 16. Honduras ; 17. Guatemala ; 18. Costa Rica ; 19. Mexique ; 20. Paraguay.

[3] ODD = Objectifs de développement durable = SDGs

[4] BEPS = l’érosion de la base d’imposition et le transfert de bénéfices

[5] APD = L’aide publique au développement = ODA

Parliamentary Network Meeting “10 Years After the Crisis”

Delivered 10-10 -2018 Paris, France

Parliamentarians, ladies and gentlemen,

It’s a pleasure to speak to you today about the lessons we have – and have not – learnt since the onset of the Global Financial Crisis ten years ago.

The world economy has recovered from the crisis. The OECD forecasts world GDP growth of 3.7% in the next two years. The US economy has been stronger than anticipated, driven by fiscal stimulus, but growth outcomes have been weaker in Europe, in part due to softer export growth.

Yet, there is no shortage of things to worry about!

Some things have improved, but not enough. The banking system is better capitalised and less leveraged, and the international community has taken steps to enhance macro-prudential regulation. Yet, global debt has never been so high, and risks have moved to the much less regulated – and rapidly expanding – shadow banking sector.

There is also the legacies of the crisis. The US Federal Reserve thinks economic growth might never fully recover from the 2008 crisis, and that it will cost every American $70,000 over their lifetime. This has to do with lower output potential, lower investment, and the decrease in the employment rates.

Trends we were worried about before the crisis have got worse too, including increased inequalities of income and opportunity in many OECD members and climate change. I will come back to these trends, but just to share with you that according to our latest Broken Elevator report, it will take 5 generations, or 150 years for a child at the bottom of the income distribution to get to the media.

The major legacy of the crisis is the lack of trust in governments and institutions and the backlash against multilateralism and globalization that have also been accompanied by the increase in populism and protectionism. This is the most worrisome trend, because trust is the glue that bring us together.

Governments are being elected as a rejection of the establishment in many countries, but political fragmentation makes governance more difficult, and puts international cooperation in a second place. Increased protectionism and trade conflict are the most worrisome trends going forward.

This context underline lessons that we learnt from the crisis in two areas. First on the need to understand the complexity global economy and the financial markets better. Second to understand also better the major trends such as technological developments, aeging and demographics, migration and climate.

And third to produce an agenda for inclusive and sustainable growth and a renewed commitment for international cooperation.

On the first topic, our understanding of how the economy and the financial system work are improving. Before the crisis global interconnectedness and the complexity it brings were not really understood, nor were the contagion mechanisms that amplify and propagate local perturbations until they become major systemic shocks.

Many experts did not foresee how the financial crisis would lead to the Great Recession or how that in turn would provoke the political and social upheavals we are now witnessing.

Moreover, the analysis and understanding of financial markets and their impact on the real economy were not helpful at presenting the real level of risks we were confronting.

In fact, the role of the financial system in traditional macroeconomic approaches rarely went beyond determining yield curves and stock prices.

The OECD established the New Approaches to Economic Challenges (NAEC) Initiative in 2012 to understand the shortcomings of the analytical frameworks we rely on, and to establish the basis of a better way to produce policy advice based on new frameworks.

The obvious place to start was with the models being used across the world by financial institutions, governments, international organisations and theorists. But we also had to rethink the ultimate objective of growth, that is not growth in itself, but the well being of people. We also had to re-think how to ensure that the benefits of growth were widely distributed.

For all the important guidance that GDP metrics can provide, it showed its limits. The pre-crisis period was a period of strong economic expansion, but that proved unsustainable financially and socially.  It led us to reconsider our assumption that growth is an end in itself and that we only need to grow the pie to reduce inequalities of income and opportunities (the trickle-down effect), or that progress (and technology in particular), will take care of environmental damage – grow first clean up afterwards.

This view is attractively simple and easy to understand, but it is essentially linear. It looks at aggregate outcomes and at average results. It concentrates on flows and does not consider stocks. We know for example that the major source of inequality is the distribution of wealth and financial assets and these are not captured in our day to day metrics.

Today’s economic models make too many assumptions that are at odds with the facts. Their very name, general equilibrium, shows that they assume that the economy is basically in balance until an outside shock upsets it.

They also assume that you can understand the economy by studying a representative agent whose expectations and decisions are rational.

They also rely in mathematical models that have left a secondary role to important disciplines, that could have provided useful insights, like sociology, history, psychology. We need to bring all these knowledge back to inform policy decisions.

Besides understanding the economy better, we also need to understand the level of interconnectedness and how global challenges need global solutions. This should help us explain why we need more multilateralism and not less.

Think about climate, think about biodiversity, water and ecological systems, where problems know no borders. Think about migration, and the need for better integration systems.

Think about trade. The multilateral trading system is under strain and the trade measures were informed by simplistic metrics of surplus or deficits, and by the old narrative of exports are good exports are bad. It is also informed by a silo approach that does not consider the interaction of trade and investment flows. In the context of the GVC this approach is fundamentally wrong!

At the OECD we have documented that almost two thirds of global trade is in intermediate inputs that are imported and used to make other products, including for export. The way we measure trade deficits do not capture this reality, and it may minimize the impact of the trade conflict that we are witnessing.

Think about the digital transformation of our economies, that is pervasive and fast.  The digital technologies are touching the way we produce, we consume, we connect and we live. It is a source of great promise, but also of great anxiety as it imposes a rhythm of change that is difficult to cope with, particularly for the low skilled workers. It took 50 years for electricity to reach 15 percent of the population of the US. It took 4 years for the iphone.

Without the proper policies the disparities in the analogue world can widen substantially in the digital world.

Let me just mention one angle of this that is gender. The digital divide for women can really open a distance that will leave them behind. If women are not well represented in STEM, they are even less in ICT disciplines. Only 20 percent of women opt for ICT.

They are also less represented in Digital companies, and only 8% of venture capital that goes to digital projects are led by women. 90 percent of the software developments in open source are produced by men. So there is a clear need to introduce a gender lens in this domain.

The answer to all these challenges and more, besides understanding better, is to make sure that we produce a people’s centered growth agenda. A model that can capture the multidimensional aspects of this, that of course include the material well being, and quality employment, health and education, but also intangibles such as culture, subjective well being, social networks, trust. Trust is the great casualty from the crisis, and the glue that ensure that societies and markets can operate successfully.

In the people’s centred growth, it is also important to introduce equity and sustainability considerations ex-ante, so that the best policy options, those that deliver for the bottom of the income distribution are prioritized.

The OECD is doing its part.

During the Ministerial of the OECD this year, we developed the Framework for Action for Inclusive Growth (that actually also informed the G7 in Charlevoix), that included a dashboard of 24 indicators to assess where each country is in the inequalities front.

We also looked at the policy options to ensure that disadvantages are not accumulated in certain income groups, and that we can ensure that the lowest deciles can enjoy the same opportunities of quality education, quality jobs and living wages.

We need to break that the future of children are determined by the place they are born.

In our work on inequalities, we have confirmed that a child from a family with low education has only 15% chances to reach high school, while 64 percent of children of more educated parents will reach that level. We have also confirmed that ¾ of children of managers will be managers, and the same share of workers will remain workers.

But we also need to ensure that the policy interventions by the State are developed not only to “compensate the losers’ but to enable every individual, region and firms to fulfil their full potential.


Ladies and Gentlemen, if we want to put well-being at the centre of policy concerns, we have to tackle the change in expectations, the growing fear and uncertainty among many people that technological and economic trends are generating.

We have to use more extensively the tools and programmes the OECD already has, such as the Better Life Index, or the PISA exercise which has successfully broadened the definition of skills to include a wider range of socio-emotional skills and capabilities.

Programmes like the Quality Jobs Framework that look beyond quantity, our BEPS work on making tax systems fairer, or our work on regulation that helps to level the playing field.

We still have to focus on producing higher rates of sustainable growth, with increases in the standard of living. But we will also have to take a hard look at the outcomes of the growth process, and ensure that they are shared fairly.

Integrating these multiple critiques and proposals into a coherent narrative ultimately means proposing a redefinition of the nature of well-being to balance economic, social and environmental capabilities. This requires theoretical debate, institutional change, new tools and methodologies, and leadership to mobilise and federate forces for change and present a picture of what that change could be.

So, let’s take back control of the narrative – let’s replace a politics of fear and pessimism with a politics of solidarity and hope – thank you.

3rd and Final Meeting of the G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group

Delivered 08-10-2018 Paris, France


Distinguished guests,


It is a pleasure to welcome you in Paris at the OECD for the third and final meeting of the G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group under the 2018 Argentinian Presidency.

Corruption is now being reported as the number one concern by citizens[1]. In 2017, only 15% of people feel the system is working for them, with 69% of those surveyed expressing concerns about ‘corruption’.

It hinders both public and private sector productivity. It perpetuates inequality and poverty, impacting well-being and the distribution of income and undermining opportunities to participate equally in social, economic and political life.

This is why fighting corruption is a core priority of the G20 agenda and necessary to achieve its objective to promote strong sustainable balanced and inclusive growth.

And the G20 is particularly well placed to lead by example and make a concrete impact on this global challenge.

Let me congratulate the Argentine Presidency and, you, G20 anti-corruption leaders, for tackling critical issues, with the High-Level Principles on Anti-Corruption and Integrity for SOEs and High-Level Principles for Prevention and Management of Conflicts of Interest in the Public Sector.

Let me also welcome the joint session between the WGB and the ACWG tomorrow. Foreign bribery has been at the heart of the anticorruption agenda since its very first action plan in 2010 and there is a reason for that. Together you represent over 75% of world exports. Ensuring that all your companies play by the same rules is key to ensure a fair multilateral system.

This week you will also be turning your minds to your next three-year plan.

The G20 has already achieved a lot, developing numerous sets of high level principles, compendium of good practices in key areas from mutual legal assistance, corporate liability to open data and customs integrity.

As this week you discuss and agree on where to turn next, I would urge you to pay particular attention to implementation. The impact of the G20 can only be measured by the concrete actions of its members.

I hope you will continue to count on the OECD as your partner in discussion and implementation. Together with other international organisations around the table, we can bring the analysis, the best practice and the evidence to help you in this endeavour. We are also the house of gold standards, beyond foreign bribery, also on public sector integrity such as public procurement.

So count on us! And let me wish you a constructive meeting and again welcome you at the OECD.

[1] Source: 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer, www.edelman.com/trust2017/  cited in2017  OECD Recommendation on Public Integrity