Jargon Watch: Womenmics

Anne Longley switched me on to this when she wrote a presentation that she had seen from the Future Laboratory. The term womenomics was coined by The Economist to capture the increasing impact that women have on economic growth in developed countries.

There is also come some counter-intuitive thinking in the piece ‘A guide to womenomics’ (paywall in place) :

It is sometimes argued that it is shortsighted to get more women into paid employment. The more women go out to work, it is said, the fewer children there will be and the lower growth will be in the long run. Yet the facts suggest otherwise. Indeed, the decline in fertility has been greatest in several countries where female employment is low.

It seems that if higher female labour participation is supported by the right policies, it need not reduce fertility. To make full use of their national pools of female talent, governments need to remove obstacles that make it hard for women to combine work with having children. This may mean offering parental leave and child care, allowing more flexible working hours, and reforming tax and social-security systems that create disincentives for women to work.

Countries in which more women have stayed at home, namely Germany, Japan and Italy, offer less support for working mothers. This means that fewer women take or look for jobs; but it also means lower birth rates because women postpone childbearing.

More information available over at the New Economist blog.