Improving gender equality could significantly boost growth in advanced economies over the coming decades.
Tackling the factors excluding women from work would achieve more than structural reforms currently proposed in the U.S. and Europe, Citi researchers including chief global political analyst Tina Fordham and head of global economics Ebrahim Rahbari said in an 84-page report published Thursday.
Such factors include the burden of unpaid care work, gender discrimination and violence, a lack of legal protection and reduced access to financial services, they said. Removing those barriers could boost OECD growth by between 6 and 20 percent, they estimated.
“It’s about the sheer scope for growth — 6 percent is what we arrived at for advanced economies, for emerging market countries it’s even higher. So why aren’t we going for it?,” Fordham told Mark Barton in an interview on Bloomberg Television. The proposals in the report would contribute “significantly more than the monetary-fiscal policies that are under discussion.”
Female participation rates are often significantly below those of men, even in advanced economies. The share of women working or actively looking for work in OECD countries averaged 64 percent last year, compared with a male participation rate of 80 percent.
That gap is particularly large in Italy and Japan. The gulf is more than 10 percentage points in the U.S. and the U.K., and it’s only slightly lower in France and Germany.