New York In a report issued today, Citi highlights the growth impacts made possible by shrinking gender inequality and by increasing women's economic empowerment. Women in the Economy II explores the economic case for women's empowerment through fresh insights and a series of case studies, and was produced as a follow-up to a 2015 report.
The report forecasts that raising women's average labor force participation; average hours worked, and average labor productivity to the levels for men could raise OECD GDP by as much as 20 percent, though it notes that a more realistic prediction is 6 percent over the next two decades.
Put into context, the potential economic payoff from reducing gender inequalities is larger and more sustainable than the potential boost from many current stimulus policies. For example, Citi's economics team estimates that current fiscal stimulus projects proposed in the U.S. have the potential to boost U.S. GDP by 1 to 1.5 percent from 2018-2021.
With the OECD estimating 1.5 percent total sustainable GDP growth per year in 2016-18, potential gains from gender equality could add the equivalent of four years of GDP growth in advanced economies. For countries such as Italy or Japan, where growth estimates are often near zero but gender gaps are large, the upside of pursuing gender equality is even greater.
"Women's economic empowerment is about creating gender equality and removing barriers to entry into the workforce for women," says Tina Fordham, Citi's Chief Global Political Analyst, appointed to the first-ever U.N. High Level Panel on Women's Economic Empowerment and strategic author on Citi's Gender Economics coverage. "Empowerment comes from creating onramps for women to be able to work if they want to. It's what happens when we address barriers like unpaid care work, or a lack of access to property and financial assets, which are just some of the reasons why women's labor participation is lower."
In addition to the Citi Research analysis, Women in the Economy II provides an overview of the recommendations of the United Nations' High Level Panel on Women's Economic Empowerment, including its Seven Primary Drivers of Women's Economic Empowerment.
Other highlights of the report include:
The report concludes with recommendations for corporates and governments, and on the changes potentially brought about by social impact investing, as asset owners begin to demand more focus on diversity and women's economic empowerment.
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