07/03/2008 - Family-friendly workplace practices and attention to gender equity in hiring and management help to improve productivity and economic performance, OECD studies show. To mark International Women's Day, OECD is highlighting aspects of its work on gender issues and promoting diversity in its workforce.
Policies that help and encourage women to participate in the work force also help to counter the potential negative effects on overall prosperity of declining birth rates and population ageing, according to OECD studies.
Family-friendly policies in the workplace make good business sense because they increase workforce motivation and improve productivity and profitability, reports the OECD study Babies and Bosses: Reconciling Family and Work Life.
International development programmes that take account of gender issues help to reduce poverty faster than do aid programmes that apply a more "gender neutral" approach, OECD's development studies show. OECD's Development Assistance Committee brings together aid experts donor countries to address how best to approach such issues in its Network on Gender Equality/ GENDERNET.
A new OECD report, Gender and Sustainable Development: Maximising the Economic, Social and Environmental Role of Women, demonstrates that a better use of the world's female population could increase economic growth, reduce poverty, enhance societal well-being, and help ensure sustainable development in all countries.
Other gender-related efforts include the Gender, Institutions and Development Data-Base (GID DB), launched by OECD's Development Centre in 2006 (www.oecd.org/dev/gender/gid) and providing statistical resources on gender issues covering more than 160 countries. Building on this, the Development Centre has established a new platform called Wikigender (see www.wikigender.org), which allows users to exchange knowledge and statistics on gender issues via the Internet.
In parallel, OECD is working to improve gender and diversity awareness among its own staff. This year, an award will be given to the most gender-friendly workplace in the Organisation, selected from among nominations from OECD staff and based on criteria including the share of women recruited and promoted and efforts to improve work/life balance. The award will be presented by South Africa's Ambassador to France, Maria Sibanda-Thusi. South Africa is one of several major emerging economies with which OECD is establishing closer relations with a view to possible future membership.
OECD statistics and publications on gender can be found at www.oecd.org/gender.