Luiza Cristina Fernandes Palma is the recently appointed chairperson to the Portugal chapter of All Ladies League (the organization which hosts Women Economic Forum). She is an investment banker with 30 years of experience living and breathing the socioeconomic havoc created by gender disparity in pay across male dominated sectors like oil and banking.
Citing McKinsey data said, “Most CEOs are male not female. Male CEOs are paid more than female CEO and the pay gap amounts to 13 trillion dollars a year.” She continued, “I have seen this inequality go on for 30 years now. And I can’t wait another 30 years to find out whether women will ever be paid as much as men. We must act now.”
That’s why Ms Palma will be submitting a new economic model to the World Bank in October 2017, and hopes the global banking sector will embrace it as well.
About the model she said, “The bank will use this model to analyse whether companies have gender parity in pay. If the companies do then they will be approved for loans and will be eligible for a lower interest rate. While the exact parameters to measure gender parity of a company are not yet revealed one will be equal pay for employees of both gender in the same job role.”
Ms Palma promises rating a company’s credit worthiness based on its gender parity will not only increase compliance with just human rights but also increase a nation’s GDP.
“We are sensitive enough to create fishing nets that don’t trap Dolphins. I think it is only fair to create a social order where women don’t have to fight for something as basic as parity in pay.
And this model will put into the economy an additional 13 trillion dollars. Since women are increasingly being employed in the work place paying them more means, more taxes paid and more disposable income for the gender that contributes 65 percent of the global spending. And that will in turn convert to a higher GDP.
And I don’t think companies will resort to paying men less to equalize pay. They can’t afford to because the media will make a circus of it and corporations need the media on their side.”
The success of trying to revamp the social order through this new economic model is hard to verity. First it has to be introduced to the world. Ms Palma with her extensive network of banking contacts feels that even if the World Bank may take an unknown amount of time to promote the model, if even one country adopts it and proves it to be a success, then other countries will follow. “The UK is quite open minded and promotes gender parity at work, that might be a good place to start”, she said of the country where she worked as a banker for 9 years.
Then there will be the estimated 500 banks from CPLP (Comunidade dos Países de Língua Portuguesa -Community of Portuguese Language Countries) Ms Palma will hope to get on board from her time heading mergers and acquisitions in the region, in addition to banks present in the 150 countries All Ladies League (the group that hosts the Women Economic Forum) has influence in.
The societal impact of this model in countries where corruption and poverty is rampant is far reaching. “Brazil has about 2317 banks and is one of the largest credit users in the world. A model like this that gives credit based on gender parity will help lower corruption immensely.”