The Benefits Of Working Women

The latest study (pdf) from the International Monetary Fund indicates that persistent gender inequality in employment “is bad news for everyone, because it translates into lower economic growth – amounting to as much as 27% of per capita GDP in some countries”:

The potential gains from a larger female workforce are striking.

In Egypt, for example, if the number of female workers were raised to the same level as that of men, the country’s GDP could grow by 34%. In the United Arab Emirates, GDP would expand by 12%, in Japan by 9%, and in the United States by 5%. According to a recent study based on data from the International Labor Organization, of the 865 million women worldwide who could contribute more fully to their economies, 812 million live in emerging and developing countries.

Raising women’s labor-market participation rate boosts economic performance in a number of ways. For example, higher incomes for women lead to higher household spending on educating girls – a key prerequisite for faster long-term growth. Employment of women on an equal basis with men provides companies with a larger talent pool, potentially increasing creativity, innovation, and productivity. And, in advanced countries, a larger female labor force can help to counteract the impact of a shrinking workforce and mitigate the costs of an aging population.