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The Economic Impact of Women in the Workforce

In my last article about gender equality in the workforce, one of the supporting arguments I made was about how empowering women in the office leads to higher levels of productivity and a more efficient use of a nation’s collective talent. In this article I dig deeper into the research that backs this statement and the strong correlation between a country’s economic power and how much it utilizes its female talent.

Impact of Women on Global Economy

Compelling evidence shows that women can be powerful drivers of economic growth. Over the next decade, the impact of women on the global economy — as producers, entrepreneurs, employees and consumers — will be at least as significant as that of China’s or India’s one-billion-plus populations, if not greater. Successfully harnessing and leveraging women’s economic potential would be the equivalent of having an additional one billion individuals in business and in the workforce contributing to the global economy.  Other estimates show that if female employment rates were to equal male rates, the overall GDP would grow significantly in the U.S. by 5% and in developing countries like Egypt by a massive 34%.

Closing the Gender Gap = Economic Advantages

Further, the World Economic Forum published their annual Global Gender Gap report suggesting a strong correlation between those countries that are most successful at closing the gender gap and those that are the most economically competitive. The companies that have already caught on are investing more heavily in female workers, thereby betting on a brighter future for women as a whole, for emerging economies whose development depends on this new talent, and for their own financial growth.

Results in the Office

Want harder evidence? According to research and advisory company, Catalyst, companies with the highest representation of women board members attain significantly higher financial performance than those with the lowest representation – on average 42% higher return on sales and 66% higher return on invested capital.

The analysis of the results from increasing the number of women in the workforce shows there has been progress in the countries and companies that strive to close the gender gap. We must all take notice of this fact and take the appropriate steps towards moving this goal forward.

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