Gender equality is more than a moral or social concern; it’s a critical economic issue. Women account for half of the world’s working-age population, but they only generate one-third of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). According to the latest report from the McKinsey Global Institute, the global economy will suffer if women are unable to achieve their economic potential.
The contribution of women to the workforce is crucial for a thriving economy. Here are five facts you need to know about gender equality and its correlation to global business growth.
Gender equality can boost the global economy by $28 trillion
If women played an identical role to men in the labour market, the results would be striking. The economic boost would be equivalent in size to the combined economies of the U.S. and China, for an additional annual global GDP of $28 trillion.
Women in South Asia experience the greatest levels of gender inequality
The Gender Parity Score (GPS) created by Mckinsey Global Institute (MGI) is a score between 0 and 1 that measures the distance a country has travelled towards gender parity. South Asia, excluding India, is the lowest at 0.44. North America and Oceania have the highest rate of equality with a score of 0.74.
40 out of 95 countries have high levels of inequality
Of the 95 countries that are home to 93% of the world’s women, and that generate 97% of global GDP, 40 have high or extremely high levels of inequality in at least half of the 15 gender equality indicators used by MGI in the study.
Women account for half the world’s working-age population but only generate 37% of GDP
Differences in GDP output are even starker on a regional basis. Women account for only 17% of GDP in India, 18% in the Middle East and North America, and 24% in South Asia. In North America, Oceania, China and Eastern Europe, the share is around 40%.
Women undertake 75% of unpaid care work
Women undertake three-quarters of the world’s total unpaid care work. This includes caring for children and the elderly, cooking and cleaning. This contribution, however, is not counted in traditional calculations of GDP.
Despite these statistics, the world has come a long way on the journey to gender equality, from where it once was. As more countries empower women to achieve economic success on the same plane as men, the unrealised potential for economic growth will have a resounding boom for businesses around the world.