Dr. Scott: 'Willful traditional thinking’ cements disadvantaged conditions for women; Start the undoing
By Nita Wiggins, Paris France
Had Dr. Linda Scott’s twenty-seven minutes presentation premiered as a film short around the world, shellshocked moviegoers would have run from their cinema seats screaming. The throughline is the economic suffering of women globally, which translates into the pain of families in developed as well as developing countries. The American family suffers, in particular, in this scenario because U.S. mothers are the primary breadwinner in 40% of households.
“There is a lot to be gained because the positives of intervening on behalf of the women’s economy are so great. It’s something that will benefit everybody: male, female, and certainly children, if we can only convince our leadership to get behind it,” said Dr. Scott in mid-April.
According to her research, the U.S. and more than 100 other countries knit a restrictive webbing so tightly around women that the system cannot be random. Dr. Scott lists some of the longstanding historical restrictions on female economic liberty as:
*Barriers to education
*The threat of violence
The time for undoing the knots has arrived.
“It’s really only bigotry and willful traditional thinking that hold us back.”
Economic liberty for all
The author of The Double X Economy says she is actively recruiting change-agents, people who understand the crisis points, who will change their individual actions, and who will pressure their elected officials to untether women from the old economic models. The work is to keep the 70% of men who support women’s economic equality and align them with women who agree over gender-equal pay and financial protections for stay-home wives and mothers, among other concerns.
“It’s not the case that the rich countries had the luxury of freeing their women; it's that freeing their women made them rich. It’s crucial to the economic health of all countries to keep women included and to do so on an equal basis.”
“We need a new political economy that is not tied to difference and insteadfocuses on commonality.”
Women had climbed to 51% of the labor force in the U.S. before the coronavirus pandemic. But over the last year, the economic gains since the 1990s have been in free fall, said Dr. Scott.
“All over the world, we have seen women hurt more than men because they are clustered in particular industries and because they were forced to go back into the home in greater numbers than men.”
For Dr. Scott, the manufacturing industry holds the promise of growth and advancement. The economic gender gap drags down national output and feeds societal scourges, like slavery and violence, she concluded.
“The relationship of women's economic exclusion is causal to poverty, hunger, and conflict,” said Dr. Scott, a guest speaker for the Women’s Economic Well-being and Leadership Initiative on April 13, 2021. “Countries that are not using women are making poor choices in both labor and enterprise. Where women are excluded the most, the countries are poorest, and indeed, they are also the most conflict-ridden, the hungriest, and the most plagued by disease.”
The Epic Potential of Women’s Empowerment
The full title of the 2020 groundbreaking book is The Double X Economy: The Epic Potential of Women’s Empowerment. It concludes with action steps that can be done on a personal level. For example:
- Insist on government forgiveness of student debt because women bear 2/3 of the debt.
- Insist on cancellation of forced arbitration contracts because women have more “points of vulnerability”.
- Insist on transparency in salaries so that women know how their pay compares to male colleagues.
- Publish or post content that reveals women’s exclusion from economic fairness.
Expanding the role of women in an economy is an opportunity to grow the economy, and it in no way diminishes the participation of men, said Dr. Scott. The explanation? In many instances, women are not employed, or they are underemployed. Their development into full participants grows the economy for everyone involved.
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Nita Wiggins is the author of the book Civil Rights Baby: My Story of Race, Sports, and Breaking Barriers in American Journalism. She released Testimony on Economic Lynching in the U.S. in September 2020 to document the practice of choking off advancement in the working life of a person.