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The dividend of gender parity

Jan 04, 2012

Global economies with greater representation of women in top positions have been found to perform better, says the report The Gender Dividend: A Business Case for Gender Equality by UN Women.

Advocates for equality between women and men have long made the case that women’s empowerment benefits everyone—not just women. In recent years, other actors have added their voices to this chorus, bringing with them strong economic arguments and evidence.


The World Economic Forum reports that across 134 countries, greater gender equality correlates positively with per capita Gross National Product. The Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific estimates that the Asia-Pacific region alone loses more than US $40 billion per year because of women’s limited access to employment, and $16-$30 billion because of gender gaps in education. And McKinsey & Company recently found that private sector firms with the largest share of women in top management perform best; they argued that moving from raising awareness about the gender gaps in management to implementing strategies to close those gaps is critical to private sector growth worldwide.

The Gender Dividend: A Business Case for Gender Equality presents the case for investments and actions — on an unprecedented scale — to broaden the range of real opportunities open to the world’s 3.5 billion women and girls.

The Millennium Development Goals and the vision set forth in the Millennium Declaration represent the most ambitious blueprint for global development that the world’s countries have ever agreed to. Meeting the Goals and realising the Declaration’s vision of “…a more peaceful, prosperous and just world” characterised by freedom and equality requires a host of actions and resources. Of these, none is more critical, far-reaching or strategic than advancing women’s empowerment and bringing about equality between women and men.

Equality and empowerment are critical means to a broad end—development that is environmentally and socially sustainable—as well as vital linchpins for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Societies fall behind when half their citizens cannot live to their full potential. Economies lag when half a country’s productive adults have inadequate capabilities, are excluded from the formal labour market, cannot gain access to credit, or are subjected to violence. Innovation stagnates when the thoughts and ideas of half the people are unheard or discounted.

The report explores the ways in which equality and empowerment advance development objectives can be seen by analysing a few key drivers for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

Source : UN Women
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