Women’s participation in the Indian economy has been a pressing concern not just inside the country but internationally as well. At an event promoting economic gender equality, International Monetary Fund Chief, Christine Lagarde, said India’s national income will rise by 27 per cent if women contribute to the workforce as much as men.
Speaking at “Women’s Empowerment: An Economic Game Changer” in Los Angeles, 60-year-old Lagarde said that pay parity and equal opportunities to women in the workplace will help boost economic growth and create a bigger piece for everyone to share.
“Empowering women can be an economic game changer for any country. For instance, if women were to participate in the labour force to the same extent as men, national income could increase by 5 per cent in the US, 9 per cent in Japan, and 27 per cent in India,” she said yesterday, as reported by Indian Express. Better opportunities for women also promote diversity and reduce economic inequality around the world, she added.
Lagarde threw light on the fact that only 50% of the world’s employable women are employed. She also talked about how women are most under-privileged in getting a job and getting equal pay as men.
“To put it differently: if you discourage half the population from fully participating in the labour market, you are essentially behaving like an airline pilot who shuts down half his engines in mid-flight. Sure, your plane will likely continue to fly, but it would be such a crazy thing to do,” Lagarde said.
Lagarde also spoke about women’s severe condition in getting a job. She said that women are less likely to find a paid job in the formal sector and if they do, they earn one-third of the amount paid to a man in the same job with same education and in the same work.
She also promoted the necessity of affordable childcare, parental leave, and workplace flexibility for women. She talked about removing legal barriers for women that come in their way while dealing in finances as the legal barriers are still huge in many countries.
“We also need to push for smarter tax policies. Think of tax reforms to help low-income families, which are disproportionately headed by women. And think of the benefits of reducing taxation on secondary earners in households, who are—again—mostly women,” she added.
“So if you add up all things that can be done in each country, you get a powerful global impact. A global economic game changer,” Lagarde said. She added that the most important countries have understood the need for gender equality, including the G20 countries that account for 85 per cent of the world GDP and two-thirds of its population.
Picture credit- Armstrong Economics