Gender equality does more than benefit women

#YLAIEmpowers women is a special YLAI Network effort focusing on ways to support women as leaders. Learn how you can get involved at ylai.state.gov/women.

Gender equality simply means a world where women enjoy the same rights and have the same opportunities as men. This isn’t just the right thing to do. It’s also the smart thing to do.

  • According to a McKinsey Global Institute report, if all countries empower women to their full economic potential, as much as $28 trillion, or 26 percent, could be added to global annual GDP by 2025.
  • Similarly, economists in the Journal of Human Capital have argued that if the gender labor gap were completely closed, per capita GDP would be 15 percent higher among Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries. For Latin America, the per capita gain from closing the gap would be 17 percent.
  • The United Nations estimates that women could increase their income globally by up to 76 percent if the employment participation gap and the wage gap between women and men were closed. This is calculated to have a global value of $17 trillion.
  • The U.N. also reports that companies greatly benefit from increasing leadership opportunities for women, which is shown to increase organizational effectiveness. It is estimated that companies with three or more women in senior management functions score higher in all dimensions of organizational effectiveness.

As onetime World Bank chief economist Lawrence Summers said, “Investment in girls’ education may well be the highest-return investment available in the developing world.” Each year of secondary school boosts a girl’s future earning power by roughly 20 percent.

Sadly, the World Economic Forum estimates that at the rate of progress it’s measured in the last 10 years, economic parity for women will not be achieved in Latin America for another 72 years. That’s where you come in.

In the coming weeks, YLAI will be offering suggestions on what Network members can do to help raise awareness of gender inequality issues and ways to take action to empower women. Be sure to check out our courses to learn more and follow the hashtag #YLAIEmpowers.

Remember, when women lead, we all succeed. What will you do to help empower women to become leaders?

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