A study about implementing women’s economic empowerment for shaping the global economy was conducted by Citibank, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and the European Commission. The study aims to dig deeper in strengthening the role of women, not only in terms of the labour force, but also in terms of reaching higher positions and empowering them.
The study includes fresh case studies comparing countries, such as the US with Canada, and Italy with Sweden.
Women account for around 50% of the working age population globally, according to the report. However, in terms of female labour force participation (LFP), rates are consistently below male participation rates, even in advanced economies.
Moreover, the report found that there is no silver bullet to achieve gender equality in the economy. It further found that countries use different measures to advance gender equality.
“Political will and capacity are crucial to deliver pro-women economic empowerment policies,” according to the report.
The report also stated that gender equality boosts labour outcomes more generally.
The report pointed out that the average hours worked across OECD countries have
declined during 2016. The decline across countries does not appear to be significantly related to the increase in female LFP rates.
The report stated that in both Canada and the US, from 1950 through the 1990s, the gender gap in LFP narrowed.
“The significant differential in wages, and consequently, incomes between men and women, is a major reason for the relatively low UN gender equity rankings for both Canada and the US,” the report said.
It explained that both North American nations have gender wage gaps that exceed the OECD average.
The report added that in both the US and Canada, women are overrepresented in part-time and non-standard work
If we raise LFP, average hours worked, and average labour productivity to parity for men and women, OECD GDP could in theory increase 20% and GDP generated by women could increase 50%.
If instead, we only narrow the gap between men and women by 50% on LFP, average hours worked and average labour productivity, GDP would increase by 8% in advanced economies and women would increase GDP by 20%.
The report also stated that adjusting those numbers with a conservative assessment on the potential impact of gender policies and changes, it forecast GDP in advanced economies could increase 6%.
Finally, the report found that by pursuing gender equality, it is expected that GDP growth will increase by 6%.
Also, total sustainable growth is expected to increase by 1.5% from 2016 to 2018.
The report added that 6% GDP growth is expected by the European Commission, if structural reforms are enacted in the European Union.
“1.2% expected growth in GDP with a 1% increase in infrastructure investment,” the report said.
The report also mentioned the seven “Primary Drivers of Women’s Economic Empowerment” that were defined by the United Nations that include tackling adverse norms and promoting positive role models, ensuring legal protection, and reforming discriminatory laws and regulations.