Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equity an “Economic No-Brainer”

Christine Lagarde IMF The Way Women Work

Photo credit: The WEEK, India.

“As I have said many times before, women’s empowerment is not just a fundamentally moral cause, it is also an absolute economic no-brainer.” – Christine Lagarde, IMF


Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of International Monetary Fund (IMF), gave a powerful keynote earlier this week at the W-20 Summit in Ankara, Turkey. We wanted to share some of the statistics and key points she used to make the case that empowering women and creating gender equity is a win-win for everyone that leads to economic growth, higher incomes, and reduced poverty and inequality.

With 3½ BILLION women in the world the opportunities are unprecedented:

  • 100 million new jobs could be created for the global economy if we reduce the gap in women’s labor force participation by 25 percent.
  • GDP in India would expand by 27 percent if the number of female workers increased to match the number of men (5 percent in the U.S., 9 percent in Japan).
  • For Turkey, it has been estimated that gender parity in employment could increase per capita income by 22 percent. The same kind of gains are also possible for many other countries.
  • Almost 90 percent of countries have at least one important legal restriction that makes it difficult for women to work.
  • 70 percent of female-owned small and medium-sized enterprises are either unserved or under-served by financial institutions in emerging and developing countries,
  • Even with the same level of education, and in the same occupation, women earn just three-quarters of what men earn.
  • Cutting the cost of childcare by half could increase the number of young mothers in the labor market by 10 percent.
  • Girls’ education is the single best investment a country can make.

“In short, [women] can be a game-changer for the global economy. But the promise can only be fulfilled if words become actions.”

In November 2014, “the G-20 pledged to reduce the gap in women’s labor force participation by 25 percent by the year 2025—which would have the benefit of creating an estimated 100 million new jobs for the global economy.” Lagarde goes into further detail around education, employment, and family on how we can deliver on “The Promise of 2025” and truly impact women’s role in our world. You can read Lagarde’s full speech here.

AS FOR ACTION: We all have a role to play in improving our futures. Investing in ourselves and investing in women is the most direct path to prosperity. What are we waiting for? 

Erin Risner

Director of Community Engagement

Writer. Creative. Brand Strategist. Content Curator. Social Media and Marketing Maven. Passionate about connecting with women around the world and telling their success stories.