Davos Agenda

Women in the workforce: How closing gender gaps can accelerate economic growth

Closing gender gaps can help countries recover from the global economic crisis, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Closing gender gaps can help countries recover from the global economic crisis, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Image: Unsplash/Christina @ wocintechchat.com

Simon Torkington
Senior Writer, Forum Agenda
Share:
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Davos Agenda?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how Gender Inequality is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:

Davos Agenda

Listen to the article

  • Closing gender gaps can help countries recover from the global economic crisis, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
  • Emerging economies and developing countries, the IMF says, have the most to gain.
  • The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report urges public and private sector action on gender gaps.

A “shocking waste of talent leading to losses in potential growth”.

That’s the conclusion of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) study looking into the economic boost nations could see as a result of closing the gender gap.

Only 47% of women are active in global labour markets compared to 72% of men, according to the IMF report. It points out that emerging and developing economies have the most to gain by closing the gap in economic participation between men and women.

Raising female participation in the workforce by 5.9 percentage points could help emerging markets grow their economies by around 8%.

Graphs illustrating the percent deviation of projected growth in relative to the pre-pandemic.
More women in the workforce could see some economies grow by 8.2%. Image: IMF

Developing countries with low incomes would experience the next largest growth, 7.1%, and advanced economies could boost growth by 5.4%. The IMF says that growth at this level would wipe out the economic losses inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

How to get more women into the global workforce

Around the world there are a multitude of barriers that prevent women from finding work in formal economies. The IMF study shines a light on women’s lack of access to education, credit, land, legal services and care services.

Discover

What's the World Economic Forum doing about the gender gap?

It urges governments to remove these barriers by reviewing economic, social and financial policies that stand in the way of women who want to work. Policymakers can also look to the IMF’s gender strategy designed to help governments open up the employment landscape for women.

Loading...

The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2023 demonstrates the urgency required to accelerate efforts to close the gender gap. The report concludes that at the current rate of progress, it will take an average of 131 years to fully close the gap, although progress differs across global regions.

Infographic illustrating the regions likely to close the gender gap.
Closing the Global Gender Gap will take an average of 131 years. Image: World Economic Forum

“Collective, coordinated and bold action by private- and public-sector leaders will be instrumental in accelerating progress towards gender parity and igniting renewed growth and greater resilience.”

The report notes that just as countries were beginning to recover from the pandemic, they were plunged into a polycrisis ignited by the war in Ukraine and soaring inflation. Raising the rate of female participation in the workforce could help offset the damage done by these cascading crises.

Have you read?
Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
Davos AgendaGender Inequality
Share:
World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

This is how AI is impacting – and shaping – the creative industries, according to experts at Davos

Kate Whiting

February 28, 2024

About Us

Events

Media

Partners & Members

  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum