I recently had the opportunity to present at a meeting on Gender issues for a group of corporate representatives. The baseline for the discussion was a recent report put together y Citigroup on the “Role of Women as Drivers of Global Economic Growth”.
So much has been accomplished, yet so much still remains to be done. The situation resulting from mediocre economic growth has brought forth the need for everyone to contribute. Women represent 50% of the world population, yet they are not well represented in the formal workforce. This brings us to the topic of “Womenomics” and the role they can play. Most of those resource are found in the informal economy and in household shores. It would mean ideally incorporating 1.3 billion women into the formal economy. Something like including “another China or India to the world ecnomy (Booz and Company). In the developed economies its about dealing with a reducing population (due to aging, immigration restrictions and low birth rates).
For business this means higher productivity resulting from innovation, creativity, new products, market expansion and knowledge resulting from a female population with increasing purchasing power. It would also help companies in attracting, retaining, engaging and developing their corporate female employees.
In order for that to happen, obstacles must be turned into opportunities. Some of these are: social and cultural cahllenges, senior and political female presence, gender friendly legislation, better metrics and analytic, educational attainment, reduction in child care costs, family friendly work environment, investing in infrastructure and safety, equal pay, elimination of barriers to industries, jobs and professions.
This implies multiple sectors of the economy playing an important role. Among them we can mention international organizations (keeping the agenda top of mind, increasing attention to the opportunities and keeping metrics); Academia (making stem professions more attractive), public sector (impacting legislations), corporate (changing the mindset, being purposeful in what is done and practicing inclusiveness of the women in their workforce) and finally women (who have a role to play in accepting their gender as something valuable that they can leverage to bring productivity to the world.