Holding women back holds us all back

In 2015, it’s simply bad business and dumb economics


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Two weeks ago, newly elected Canadian Premier Justin Trudeau appointed his cabinet, and 50 percent of the appointments went to women. When he was asked why, he said: “Because it’s 2015.”

Because it’s 2015. That’s why we are really here today, isn’t it? 

Because it’s 2015, women and girls around the globe, and here in New Hampshire, should not be denied the same educational and economic opportunities as men.

Because it’s 2015, women and girls across the globe, and here in New Hampshire, should not be victims of gender-based violence.

Because it’s 2015, women should hold more than 17 percent of Fortune 500 board seats.

Because it’s 2015, women should not be earning only 78 cents for every dollar a man earns.

Because its 2015, employers should be taking proactive steps to assure, through pay equity, parental leave and other family-friendly work policies, that women can succeed, advance and prosper in the private sector. 

Because it’s 2015, our daughters should no longer have to confront the same discrimination, injustices and inequities that their mothers and grandmothers faced. 

And when research tells us that investing in girl’s education and women’s economic empowerment leads to significantly higher economic growth in country after country around the world, and that advancing women into senior management and onto corporate boards makes businesses more profitable, because it’s 2015 it is simply bad business, it is simply dumb economics, to hold women back, because this is holding all of us back. 

That’s why we’re here. 

Because it’s 2015, the work of the NH Women’s Foundation is so vital to our state. 

It is a pleasure to be able to support that important work. 

Joe Keefe is president and CEO of Portsmouth-based Pax World Funds. This article includes excerpts of remarks he delivered at the Nov. 19 NH Women’s Foundation Women Building Communities luncheon in Manchester. 

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