Closing gender gaps can help countries recover from the global economic crisis, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Image: Unsplash/Christina @ wocintechchat.com
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- 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%.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.
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