IMF Inspired: Reimagining the Workplace for Women

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Reshma Saujani, Founder of Marshall Plan for Moms and Girls Who Code, and Sabina Bhatia, Deputy Secretary of the IMF, discuss the she-cession and the damaging effects of the COVID-19 outbreak on working women and more specifically on mothers. The session will also explore how we can re-imagine a better, fairer, and more equitable workplace for women. Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the IMF, will give opening remarks.

Opening Remarks

Kristalina Georgieva

Managing Director, IMF

 

Kristalina Georgieva is the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). She is the first person from an emerging market economy to lead the IMF since its inception in 1944. Before joining the Fund, Ms. Georgieva was Chief Executive Officer of the World Bank and also served as Interim President for a time. Previously, she served at the European Commission as Vice President for Budget and Human Resources – and as Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response. She was named “European of the Year” and “Commissioner of the Year” by European Voice for her leadership in the European Union’s humanitarian response to crises.



Speakers

Reshma Saujani

Founder of Marshall Plan for Moms and Girls Who Code

Reshma Saujani is a leading activist and the founder of Girls Who Code and the Marshall Plan for Moms. She is the author of the forthcoming book PAY UP. Reshma has spent more than a decade building movements to fight for women and girls’ economic empowerment, working to close the gender gap in the tech sector and most recently advocating for policies to support moms impacted by the pandemic. Reshma is also the author of the international bestseller Brave, Not Perfect.

Sabina Bhatia

Deputy Secretary of the IMF

Sabina Bhatia, a national of India, is Deputy Secretary of the IMF. Prior to that, she was Assistant Director in the Communications Department. Sabina has a B.A. from Calcutta University and an M.A. in Applied Economics from Johns Hopkins University.

Recommended Reading

Seminar Report

The session discussed “she-cession” and the adverse effects of the COVID-19 outbreak on working women and more specifically on mothers. Reshma Saujani described how to re-imagine a better, fairer, and more equitable workplace for women.

Key Points:

  • Marshall Plan for Moms. Saujani described how women, especially low-income working mothers, have borne the brunt of the pandemic, losing employment in retail, health, and hospitality sectors, where they are overwhelmingly represented. She noted that Marshall Plan for Moms includes policy recommendations for corporates and governments to address challenges faced by mothers, especially women of color, who had to take up unpaid childcare, attend to home-schooling needs and run the household.
  • A Re-imagined Workplace. The post-pandemic workplace will look drastically different. Saujani recommended that organizations be more flexible for salaried employees, predictable for hourly employees, and offer universal childcare benefits while prioritizing health and happiness.
  • Way Forward. Bringing women, who lost their jobs during the pandemic, back to the workplace requires targeted policies and interventions, in addition to a cultural shift. Saujani noted women's employment, specifically for mothers, would benefit significantly from policies such as affordable childcare, paid leave, and cash payments. Saujani also called on the private sector to step up its efforts to support women and shared recommendations that corporates could adopt.

Quotes:

"So many mothers are treated as martyrs. We're doing the unpaid work and we're not being paid for it." Reshma Saujani

"Let's not take another 50 years or another 100 years to make the progress that we were making in gender equality. Let's do it in a handful of years.Reshma Saujani

"You can't lose 30 years of jobs progress in a year and think it’s an on and off switch." Reshma Saujani

Our goal is to apply ‘a gender lens’ to our surveillance, policy advice and capacity development to help member countries be more responsive to gender equality in their macroeconomic and financial policies.Kristalina Georgieva

It is clear that the pandemic has robbed mothers of their hard-won financial progress. And, sadly, this is affecting women everywhere, in all regions.” Kristalina Georgieva

Contributor: Smita Aggarwal, IMF, Secretary’s Department

Photos