Fifteen years ago at the Fourth World Conference on Women. Governments pledged to advance equality, development and peace for all women everywhere. The landmark Beijing Declaration has had a deep and wide-ranging impact. It has guided policymaking and inspired new national laws. It has sent a clear message to women and girls around the world that equality and opportunity are their inalienable rights.
There are many examples of progress, thanks in large part to the resolute efforts of civil society organizations. A growing number of countries have legislation that
supports sexual and reproductive health and promotes gender equality.
Nonetheless, much work remains. Maternal mortality remains unacceptably high, too few women have access to family planning, and violence against women remains
a cause for global shame. In particular, sexual violence during conflict is endemic. One key lesson of the past decade and a half is the importance of addressing broader discrimination and injustice. Gender stereotyping and discrimination remain common in all cultures and communities. Early and forced marriage. sexual abuse and trafficking of young women and girls are disturbingly prevalent and, in some areas, on the rise. Whether looking through the lens of poverty. or in times of disaster, we see that women still bear the greatest burden.
Central Bankers: Stop Dithering. Do Something.
Both the American economy and the global economy are facing a familiar foe: policy defeatism. Throughout modern economic history, whether in Western Europe in the 1920s. in the United States in the 1930s, or in Japan in the 1990s, every major financial crisis has been followed by premature abandonment - if not reversal - of the stimulus policies that are necessary for sustained recovery. Sadly: the world appears to be repeating this mistake.
The right thing to do right now is for the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank to engage in further monetary stimulus. Having lowered short-term interest rates, they should buy (or in the case of the Fed, resume buying) significant quantities of government securities to help push down long-term interest rates and encourage investment.As many have observed. we need to rebalance the economy from imports to exports, from private consumption to savings, from tax breaks to infrastructure rebuilding and from the financial sector to everything else. The process of rebalancing will require movement of capital from older industries and activities to newer ones -that is, investment. Moreover, a lot of what was termed "investment" during the boom years was misallocated - wasted - capital. so many productive projects were ignored.
But investment has been held back because of uncertainty over the economy's future prospects. And the ability to attract investors is being limited by the giant burden of private-sector debt, In other words, a financing problem is inhibiting the restructuring of our economy. Alleviating generalized financing problems and low
investor confidence is precisely what monetary stimulus does. Some claim that monetary easing will impede restructuring. But this makes no sense. For all the talk that monetary austerity promotes the "creative destruction" necessary for the economy to recover. it does not work that way.
We need to make full effort to develop social undertakings. Education will remain a priority to steadily raise the level of literacy of the society as a whole. Home spun and forward looking innovation will be boosted to facilitate cutting age changes in key areas and serve further national development. The system and policies aiming at fostering innovation will be improved to pave the way for major breakthroughs in scientific and technologic discoveries. Share of R&D spending in GDP will increase to 2.2% with more effective schemes to commercialize the research outputs. Human capital development will be strengthened to form a vast supply of brain power to help achieve China's modernization program. Cultural reforms will be promoted to explore unchartered territories and meet the public's growing demand for recreational and artistic fulfillment.
I know a Chinese student who came to the United States on a summer exchange program. She told me about the things she found hard to understand about the American family where she had her home stay'. The couple were both lawyers and had four children, all boys but in various stages of schooling from primary to senior high. They had a large house, a yacht and a private jet. Despite the trappings of great wealth, their lifestyle was surprisingly straightforward. For example, the parents.