The economic empowerment of women has been at the centre of discourse for the women’s movement in the 21st century. While it is touted to improve the quality of life of the women population of the world, great world leaders and economists have also taken an added interest in it- simply because it stands to empower entire economies, if done right. Here is how bolstering economic development of women is at the heart of overall development of nations:
1. An increase in female labour force participation:
Currently, 40 percent of the total labor force are women- but half of them are still not working. The complete reduction in the gender gap in the labour force participation will result in faster economic growth- upto 5 percent in the US Economy, and even 34 percent when it comes to Egypt. “There is ample evidence that when women are able to develop their full labor market potential, there can be significant macroeconomic gains,” an IMF report says.
2. Spillover Effect of Enabling a Woman to Earn:
It has been reported, that the income spending patterns and habits differ greatly between men and women. Various reports have proven that while men tend to spend only 40-45 percent of their incomes on their family, women dedicate double that amount- that is, almost 90 percent of their incomes towards the welfare of their families and ecosystems. Thus, a woman granted control of the finances- either her own earnings or those of her husband’s- will put them to optimum use.
3. Education and its benefits:
Education is the first building block towards enabling a girl to hone a skill and have a career, and it has been found that the econimic growth recorded in most countries cvan be traced to increased levels of literacy amongst it girls. About 50 per cent of the economic growth in OECD countries over the past 50 years, has been credited girls getting access to higher levels of education and training. In fact, education even imparts necessary life-skills: A study using data from 219 countries from 1970 to 2009 found that, for every one additional year of education for women of reproductive age, child mortality decreased by 9.5 per cent
4. Banking Access:
There is a gender-based disparity in terms of access to formal financial services globally. In developing economies, women are 20 percent less likely than men to own a bank account, and hence, 17 percent less likely to have accessed the array of financial services that financial institutions have to offer. There are often restrictions on women opening bank accounts- like the manadatory requirement of a man’s permission.
5. Closing the Wage Gap:
It has been calculated, that higher representation and higher visibility could close the wage gap that exists between the gender. If this employment gap is bridged, and woman find place in higher levels of management as well- women could increase their income globally by up to 76 per cent – and this is calculated to have a global value of USD 17 trillion.
Source for Statistics: UN Women
Image credits: Rescue.be.org