The Wall Street Journal reports that after 128 years in business, The Bank of Japan has promoted its first female branch manager. This example points clearly to the self-destructive sexism that will doom Japan to decline. Japan has a severely low birthrate which will put immense pressure on their economy as their population ages and shrinks rapidly. They need more people, yet they refuse to allow immigration. The simple, obvious solution is to make more effective use of the talents of half their population, and yet in 2010 they still haven’t managed to integrate women into the workplace. I’m going to miss Japan when it finally disappears.
The same article points to a report from the World Economic Forum on gender parity. The countries with the best gender parity are obviously the Scandinavian countries, while the US is ranked at 31. Here are some countries that rank higher than the US: South Africa, Lesotho, Sri Lanka, Mongolia, and Mozambique. How can these countries be “better” than the US for women? That’s when you have to peek behind the ranking and analyze their methodology. It’s atrociously stupid. They defined “gender parity” merely as the ratio of female over male for several metrics. For example, let’s say literacy rates for some 3rd world country is 30% for women and 25% for men. The parity score is a whopping 1.2, which exceeds a 1st world country with literacy rates of 95% (f) and 98% (m) with a ratio of just 0.96. But which country would you rather live in? Sri Lanka is ranked #6 for political empowerment largely because a woman was head of state for 23 out of 50 years (though Sri Lanka has been independent only 38 years!). But would anyone claim that Sri Lanka offers more political power to women than the US? The methodology and the metrics are completely awful, yielding a report that is worse than junk. Nevertheless, lazy, stupid reporters will repeat these rankings uncritically and shape public perception that the US is far behind other countries in gender equality. Seriously, South Africa – “Rape Capitol of the World” – is ranked #6! Didn’t anyone at the WEF raise an eyebrow at the strange rankings?