Why Women Are Essential for Economic Growth

Economic Growth

Women have always played a critical role in the global economy, but their contributions have often gone unrecognized and undervalued. However, research shows that when women are empowered and given equal opportunities, they can have a transformative impact on economic growth and development. In this article, we will explore why women are essential for economic growth and what can be done to promote gender equality in the workforce. 

Women as Drivers of Economic Growth

Women are a powerful force for economic growth. According to the World Bank, gender equality is not only a matter of human rights, but it is also smart economics. Women represent half of the world’s population and, therefore, have a significant impact on the economy. When women are given equal access to education, healthcare, and economic opportunities, they can drive economic growth and reduce poverty.

Studies show that countries with higher levels of gender equality tend to have higher levels of economic growth. A report by McKinsey & Company found that advancing women’s equality could add $12 trillion to global GDP by 2025. In addition, the World Economic Forum found that closing the gender gap in labor force participation could increase global GDP by $5.3 trillion by 2025.

Women as Job Creators

Women are also job creators. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), women entrepreneurs create jobs for themselves and others, driving economic growth and contributing to poverty reduction. However, women entrepreneurs face significant barriers to starting and growing their businesses, including a lack of access to finance, markets, and networks.

Despite these challenges, women-owned businesses are growing at a faster rate than companies owned by men in many countries. In the United States, for example, women-owned businesses increased by 58% between 2007 and 2018, compared to an overall increase of 12% for all businesses. In addition, women-owned businesses are often more likely to prioritize sustainability and social impact, contributing to a more equitable and sustainable economy.

Women as Consumers

Women are also key consumers, driving demand for goods and services and contributing to economic growth. According to the Boston Consulting Group, women control $40 trillion in consumer spending globally, and their purchasing power is expected to reach $72 trillion by 2025. Women are not only significant consumers, but they also have a unique perspective on what products and services are needed and how they should be designed and marketed.

However, many industries have historically overlooked women’s needs and preferences, leading to missed opportunities for innovation and growth. By recognizing women’s economic power and promoting gender diversity in product development, marketing, and advertising, businesses can tap into this significant market and drive economic growth.

Barriers to Women’s Economic Empowerment

Despite the significant economic potential of women, many face significant barriers to monetary empowerment. Women are often paid to a lesser extent than men for the same work and are more likely to work in informal and low-paying jobs. In addition, women are often responsible for unpaid care work, such as caregiving and household chores, which can limit their ability to participate in the formal workforce.

Women also face considerable barriers to accessing finance, markets, and networks, which can limit their ability to start and grow businesses. According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, women are less likely to start businesses than men, and those who do are often smaller and less profitable.

Promoting Gender Equality for Economic Growth

To fully realize the economic potential of women, it is essential to promote gender equality in the workforce. This includes eliminating gender pay gaps, promoting equal access to education and training, and providing affordable and accessible childcare and other family-friendly policies.

It is also vital to address the systemic barriers that women face in accessing finance, markets, and networks. This includes promoting gender diversity in leadership positions, increasing access to finance and credit, and providing women with mentorship and networking opportunities.

Governments, corporations and civil society all have a role to play in advancing gender equality and empowering women in the economy.

Some strategies that have been successful in promoting women’s economic empowerment include:

Gender-sensitive policies and programs: Governments can promote gender equality by implementing policies and programs that support women’s economic empowerment, such as paid parental leave, affordable childcare, and access to education and training.

Financial inclusion: Increasing women’s access to finance and credit is critical for promoting women’s economic empowerment. Governments and financial institutions can work to remove barriers to women’s access to finance, such as discriminatory lending practices and lack of collateral.

Gender diversity in leadership: Businesses can promote gender equality by increasing gender diversity in leadership positions. This not only creates more opportunities for women, but it also leads to better decision-making and better business outcomes.

Mentorship and networking: Providing women with mentorship and networking opportunities can help them overcome the systemic barriers they face in accessing finance, markets, and networks. This can include providing mentorship programs, networking events, and access to business networks.

Gender-sensitive product development and marketing: Businesses can tap into the significant market of women consumers by designing and marketing products and services that meet their needs and preferences. This includes promoting gender diversity in product development teams and marketing departments.


Women are essential for economic growth and development. When women are empowered and given equal opportunities, they can have a transformative impact on the economy. Women are drivers of economic growth, job creators, and key consumers. However, many women still face significant barriers to economic empowerment, including gender pay gaps, lack of access to finance and markets, and unpaid care work.

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