Last month I discussed the gender gap on my blog, and I realized that it might be helpful to write a blog breaking down the importance of economically empowering women to accompany it. Rather than just saying the gender gap is a problem, it might be easier to develop solutions with the added knowledge of all of the benefits associated with a more equal playing field.
With a passion for finance and education, I quickly became enthralled in the conversations surrounding economic empowerment, and we can leverage it and the female population to stimulate change. Recently, I have been speaking a lot about the United Nations’ sustainable development goals set for 2030. At the forefront stands female economic empowerment and gender equality. You see, the two go hand in hand. In financially legitimizing women in the workforce, we begin to level the playing field and work towards gender equality. The disparities between men and women are a systemic problem, and therefore in order to begin to chip away at these issues, we need to rebuild our infrastructures.
That’s not to say there isn’t a roadmap. As Jeni Klugman says, “A recent report from a high-level panel established by the UN secretary-general identifies proven and promising actions that governments, businesses, non-governmental organizations and multilateral development agencies can take to close these gaps.” As government initiatives steer toward these directives, we need to bolster these efforts with our support.
What’s in it for Us – By the Numbers
- “When more women work, economies grow. An increase in female labour force participation—or a reduction in the gap between women’s and men’s labour force participation—results in faster economic growth.” Growing the economy becomes pivotal to our development. Economic empowerment and the economy become tied together.
- “Women’s exercise of agency improves their children’s welfare.” In increasing women’s financial responsibility within the home, we improve the lives of our children. We want to create a strong, well-informed and educated future generation. In economically empowering women, we help to improve the outlook for the next generation.
- “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 percent.” Along the same lines, in educating women, we diminish our infant mortality rate.
For more statistic and benefits check here.
What do we need to do?
Rabih Yazbeck who specializes in international development says, “Strategies are often indirect by assuming that expected economic benefits for women will change social norms over time. However, intentional direct efforts to shift social norms—such as community and household dialogue, support groups, and awareness campaigns to confront gender inequality—is possible and encouraged.” Individually and as a community, we can begin to confront the long-standing issues through conversation and discourse. Gender equality has been proven to benefit everyone, so we know it’s something worth striving for. By engaging on the topic, we take the first step.