|President Obama is considering Larry Summers for the top spot at the World Bank. Summers would be a terrible choice because he has a long history of making sexist comments. Can you ask President Obama not to nominate Summers?|
Right now President Obama is deciding whether to nominate Larry Summers--his former economic adviser--to head the World Bank.1 He needs to hear from all of us that Larry Summers would be a terrible pick.
Summers has a long history of making sexist comments—including saying that girls don’t have the genetic gifts to do well in math and science and that men excel in professional life because they are more committed to their careers than married women.2
The World Bank wields tremendous power over the lives of women and girls everywhere---including helping to restructure entire countries, their education system, and working in places where women and girls are getting their first glimpse of equality. We need someone there who believes women and girls have the same potential as boys and men.
The media is just starting to write about who Obama will nominate and if we all speak out now, we can show them and the President how many of us think Larry Summers is the wrong man for the job. Can you sign this petition telling President Obama not to nominate Larry Summers? We’ll deliver your comments to the White House and we’ll make sure the media knows too.
Traditionally, the U.S. President nominates the leader of the World Bank and the nomination needs to be approved by the World Bank’s executive board. So Obama is hugely influential here.3
Of course, Larry Summers could not be more wrong about women and girls’ aptitude for math and science. A worldwide study in 2009 found that achievement gaps between boys and girls were not a global pattern. For example, in Iceland, Thailand, and the UK, 15-year-old girls outnumbered boys at the top levels of achievement in math. The study also found that generally, countries where girls outperformed boys in math and science were also countries with high gender equality--like Denmark.4
According to Oxfam, women suffer most from the effects of poverty and poor health.5 But they are also the leading edge of economic development. Women are more likely to start small businesses and "of the 15 job categories expected to grow the most in the next decade, all but two are filled primarily by women".6 The developing world needs economic leaders who understand, appreciate and respect the role that women are playing to build these new economies.
Larry Summers has apologized for the sexist comments he’s made in the past. But the fact is that even after he apologized, he went on to make other sexist statements a short time later. As recently as last year, Christina Romer, the head of the Council of Economic Advisers, said she felt like a “piece of meat” working with him and that he would shut her out of meetings.7
There are so many better candidates for this job--Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is even on the shortlist.8 Choosing Larry Summers would be a mistake, one that could shortchange millions of women and girls all over the world.
Please sign today.
--Nita and Shaunna, UltraViolet