A large number of highly educated women isn’t going to help a nation. New data released by World Economic Forum reveals a high level of education remains as mere ornaments to them as these highly educated women do not contribute to the economy to the extent similarly educated males to do.
Recently published Global Gender Gap Report, 2016 shows that countries that attained the highest order of Educational equality and countries with a higher proportion of women with tertiary education do not get an equal contribution from these women in their labor force.
A study of 24 countries that have attained #1 position in Education Attainment in 2016 Global Gender Gap Report shows none except Denmark has the equal participation of highly educated women in labor force even though in all these countries proportion of women with tertiary education is much higher compared to that of males.
One favorable point for these highly educated (professional and technical education) women is – overall they participate in workforce more compared to ordinary educated women.
A study of countries that has a maximum proportion of highly educated women shows abysmal workforce participation by those highly educated women across all geographies and in all economies –
A common feminist reply to this situation is women across the globe need to ‘sacrifice’ their career for their families and for caregiver role that society ‘forces’ on them. This is the reason even though women end up working more hours every day (Global Gender Gap Report also shows women doing more unpaid work in all countries) compared to that of males, their contribution is not taken into account in countries GDP calculation.
Unpaid Work by women and the Feminist concept of ‘Salary to Wife’
A few years ago Indian Feminists wanted to create a new law in India where 20% of husband’s monthly income was to be automatically given to the wife every month. This arrangement, according to feminists would help calculate a woman’s actual contribution to GDP and their unpaid household work will be valued. Feminists argued that men can earn because their wives take care of their homes and it is the duty of the husband to pay commensurate monetary compensation to their wives.
However, this concept has not gone well with many women as this brings in an employee-employer relation in a family. Many men who lived alone and got paid their full salary while they took care of their own homes did not find any reason why they needed to shell out 20% of their salary unnecessarily.
Do women ‘Sacrifice’ their career for their home?
To understand whether women really sacrifice their career for their homes or it is another feminist myth created and nurtured over years that many of us believed to be true.
To understand this we need to take a look at this research done by Harvard Business School (HBS) researchers. Researchers Robin J Ely, Pamela Stone and Colleen Ammerman of HBS studied professional women for 20 years and had surveyed 25,000 MBA graduates from HBS of three different generation, viz. Baby Boomers (age 49-67), Generation X (age 32-48) and Generation Y (age 26-31). Harvard graduates are trained to assume leadership positions globally and by taking both male and females of the same business school, these researchers had ensured a level playing field for all respondents.
This survey found the stark difference between corporate satisfaction levels in the two genders –
Clearly, women executives aren’t satisfied by business parameters. But do they opt out of the workforce for their families? The HBS researchers found that “Only 11% are out of the workforce to take care of children full time”.
The researchers had also found out that these high achieving women do not “opt out” to take care of their children but because they find themselves in unfulfilling roles. The part-time work they take up doesn’t satisfy their intellectual ability.
This study also reveals that men and women both at senior levels of management had taken career decisions (like flexible working, less travel, no promotion etc.) and there is no gender bias in that. This study showed that both genders have equally taken career decisions. The study concluded that simply being a parent did not change any of these outcomes. That means that feminist myth of women compromise with their career because of unpaid family work and child raising responsibility is completely baseless.
Another Survey done by CNBC in 2015 with more than 2600 executives from the US and Canada shows that men work more in extended hours and women complain more about working in extended hours.
From above analysis, it is clear that women, when given higher responsibilities, tend to complain more and very often renounce the opportunities. Both genders seek work-life balance but men show more dedication to their work. This explains squarely why a highly educated women population is of no help to a nation-building. Because caregiver roles – the natural choice of women, do not require higher degrees.