On September 20-21, 2011, the World Bank hosted a 24-hour online chat forum and live webcast debate on solutions needed to increase women’s economic opportunity and their voice in decision making. The event was entitled “Open Forum: Gender — Getting to Equal.” CNN International’s Hala Gorani hosted the discussion. Participants included World Bank President Robert Zoellick, Nike Foundation President and CEO Maria Eitel and others. Thousands more people participated online.

The global community submitted more than 250 ideas to solve this global challenge. The most popular idea, with 936, votes from several countries around the world, was the proposal for a Basic Income for all. The second most popular idea was supported by only 289 votes (see the vote totals here). During the forum, however, Basic Income was not a major topic of discussion. It was mentioned only once, and after 30 seconds discussion went on to another topic (see video part 5 at 7:28).

Some participants in the online chat told BI News they were disappointed that the most popular topic was hardly discussed in the forum. Although they appreciated that the World Bank held an open forum in which participants could submit solutions and vote on them, ignoring the most popular proposal could lead to dissatisfaction with such events, conveying the impression that World Bank experts do not take the suggestions of ordinary people seriously.

For the tally of votes at the online forum:

The World Bank’s description of the event is online along with video of the discussion at:

About Karl Widerquist

Karl Widerquist has written 983 articles.

Karl Widerquist is an Associate Professor of political philosophy at SFS-Qatar, Georgetown University, specializing in distributive justice—the ethics of who has what. Much of his work involves Universal Basic Income (UBI). He is a co-founder of the U.S. Basic Income Guarantee Network (USBIG). He served as co-chair of the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN) for 7 years, and now serves as vice-chair. He was the Editor of the USBIG NewsFlash for 15 years and of the BIEN NewsFlash for 4 years. He is a cofounder of BIEN’s news website, Basic Income News, the main source of just-the-facts reporting on UBI worldwide. He is a cofounder and editor of the journal Basic Income Studies, the only academic journal devoted to research on UBI. Widerquist has published several books and many articles on UBI both in academic journals and in the popular media. He has appeared on or been quoted by many major media outlets, such as NPR’s On Point, NPR’s Marketplace, PRI’s the World, CNBC, Al-Jazeera, 538, Vice, Dissent, the New York Times, Forbes, the Financial Times, and the Atlantic Monthly, which called him “a leader of the worldwide basic income movement.” Widerquist holds two doctorates—one in Political Theory form Oxford University (2006) and one in Economics from the City University of New York (1996). He has published seven books, including Prehistoric Myths in Modern Political Philosophy (Edinburgh University Press 2017, coauthored by Grant S. McCall) and Independence, Propertylessness, and Basic Income: A Theory of Freedom as the Power to Say No (Palgrave Macmillan 2013). He has published more than a twenty scholarly articles and book chapters. Most Karl Widerquist’s writing is available on his “Selected Works” website (works.bepress.com/widerquist/). More information about him is available on his BIEN profile and on Wikipedia. He writes the blog "the Indepentarian" for Basic Income News.