When women can achieve, they help the world achieve.
A new Catalyst report, Women in the World, shows that advancing women’s employment status globally has a powerful ripple effect, benefitting families, communities, workplaces, economies, and societies at large.
“Women can change the world, but empowerment is a two-way street,“ says Deborah Gillis, President and CEO, Catalyst. “To effect the transformation we all seek, we have a responsibility to change the world for women so that they are poised to advance and help shape our future. It’s essential for women to be as educated, as capable of earning money, and as in control of their physical lives as men—not just because it’s fair, but because empowering women raises everybody’s standard of living.”
The report, which synthesizes data from a variety of global organizations and sources, uncovers where there is real opportunity for countries to break barriers by leveraging the power and potential of women to improve lives and increase prosperity for everyone. It looks at three important global trends—aging populations, access to education, and progress toward equality—and reveals the critical impact of these trends on women and workforces across all regions.
Fuller employment of women could result in significant growth in the economies of many countries.
As the global population ages, the pool of employable talent is shrinking, causing a serious drain on many economies. But women are a solution! Companies and governments have the power to change the economic equation for the better by implementing policies and creating environments to take advantage of an underutilized and competent labor pool—women.
Women have made enormous advances in education worldwide, but they still have limited opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.
Though women have advanced, progress toward equality has slowed. Many barriers to women’s full participation in the broader economy remain.
Opportunities for Impact and Change:
Increasing the levels of female employment could help raise the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by: 5% in the United States; 9% in Brazil; 9% in Japan; 11% in Italy; 12% in the United Arab Emirates, and 27% in India. [DeAnne Aguirre, Leila Hoteit, Christine Rupp, and Karim Sabbagh, Empowering the Third Billion: Women and the World of Work in 2012 (Booz & Company, 2012): p. 19.]
Overall, secondary education for girls leads to wage boosts of 15% to 25%. [Barbara Herz and Gene B. Sperling, What Works in Girls’ Education: Evidence and Policies From the Developing World (Council on Foreign Relations, 2004): pg. 21-25.]
Increasing the share of girls in secondary education by just one percentage point will raise a country’s annual per capita income growth by 0.3 percentage points. [Barbara Herz and Gene B. Sperling, What Works in Girls’ Education: Evidence and Policies From the Developing World (Council on Foreign Relations, 2004): pg. 21-25.]
Countries that passed laws and policies related to employment, minimum schooling, and access to credit for women had smaller pay gaps, more women doing paid work, and more women in senior roles. [DeAnne Aguirre, Leila Hoteit, Christine Rupp, and Karim Sabbagh, Empowering the Third Billion: Women and the World of Work in 2012 (Booz & Company, 2012): p. 5-6.]
The economic empowerment of women can improve a country’s growth and stability, combat shrinking labor forces, and contribute to economic development. [Katrin Elborgh-Woytek, Monique Newiak, Kalpana Kochhar, Stefania Fabrizio, Kangni Kpodar, Philippe Wingender, Benedict Clements, and Gerd Schwartz, Women, Work, and the Economy: Macroeconomic Gains From Gender Equity (International Monetary Fund, September 2013).]
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