Produced by Women Deliver May 18, 2016

Narrowing the Gender Gap in the Global Workforce Could Yield $12 Trillion in 2025

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Narrowing the gender gap in the global economy could reap $12 trillion in 2025, according to groundbreaking research released today by the McKinsey Global Health Institute at the Women Deliver conference in Copenhagen.

Currently, women make up half of the global population, yet contribute 37% to GDP. This report – the most comprehensive global mapping of gender inequality to date – proposes actions and investments needed to level the playing field for women and girls. Through its Gender Parity Score – a combination of 15 indicators to assess how far the world needs to travel to achieving the economic potential of women and the SDGs – the McKinsey Global Initiative helps quantify and guide the process.

“Today we launch a new discussion paper that takes our work two steps forward,” said Vivian Hunt, Managing Partner at McKinsey & Company, UK. To reach the $12 trillion in added global GDP, Hunt said, the report, Delivering the Power of Parity: Toward a More Gender-Equal Society, concentrates on six areas: education, family planning, maternal, newborn and child health, financial and digital inclusion, and assistance with unpaid care work.

Achieving an 11 percent boost in GDP – or $12 trillion – will require reaching millions of people with services surrounding these six core areas. For example, 58 million more girls and 60 million more boys would need to be enrolled in secondary education, and an additional 224 million women would need access to formal financial services. An estimated 445 million more people would need access to safe water supplies – a critical step to secure more productive hours for women in developing countries.

“Change is ambitious, but achievable,” said Hunt, adding that it would require a $1.5 trillion to $2.0 trillion investment in incremental public, private or household annual spending to achieve this goal. This is 20 to 30 percent more than what would be spent under current development allocations. That figure is daunting, but it represents a return on investment six to eight times that amount.

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