Women’s Economic Empowerment

Zoe Dean

Women’s economic empowerment is paramount to the world’s economy, including more women in the existing markets, access to resources, productivity, control over their own time, lives and bodies, in all levels of economic decision making. Human development and business gain from empowering more women to apply for senior roles. Achieving gender equality means a country benefits from better health, higher per capita income, inclusive and faster economic growth, education and a greater international competitiveness

Women and the Economy

Women playing a bigger part in the economy has shown an increase in economic diversification, a boost in productivity and positive development outcomes. Furthermore, women’s participation in the workforce and executive level decision making has led to an increase in investments, reduced household poverty and has made a positive impact in children’s education. Additionally, studies have suggested that gender parity has the potential to increase global gross domestic product (GDP) the figure estimated is between $12 trillion and $28 trillion by 2025 (Woetzel et al., 2015), further studies and statistics have shown that the economy will drop if  part of the population is not encouraged or not able to compete equitably globally. McKinsey Global Institute study suggest that closing the gender gap in part time versus full time would increase the global GDP by 12-25% by 2025.

Below are six key factors that enable or constrain the process of enhancing women’s economic empowerment, either as individuals or collectively.

  • access to quality, decent paid work
  • education, skills development and training
  • unpaid care and work burdens
  • access to property, assets and financial services
  • collective action and leadership, and
  • social protection.

Women’s contribution in executive positions

Evidence has supported, for companies to witness effective growth, it would be beneficial for them to increase women’s opportunities in more senior and leadership roles. It has been estimated that companies who score higher in all dimensions of organizational performances, have three or more women in senior managements positions, moreover companies with women in board positions enjoy a higher financial return. Companies who have gender equality have found to be able to retain female talent, motivate their employees to retain their female customers because female employees ae able to respond and understand the needs of customers and address complex problems by having a more diverse view. There are different contributions to business links, such as, suppliers, leaders, brand creators, community members and customers. Research has documented, promoting gender equality will enable women to make a positive contribution to the value chains in business, increasing productivity, profit and much more.

In conclusion, women play a major role in the economy and not only are inordinate decision makers but women make a significant contribution to the economy. From the different studies there have been positive research into why women should be included, particularly in senior and leadership roles. Companies can benefit from women’s contribution and globally this has a positive impact on the economy, education, health and many other aspects of society. Moreover, gender equality contributes to a harmonized workforce, growth and success towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


Hunt, A., and Samman, E. (2016) Women’s economic empowerment Navigating enablers and constraints  https://www.odi.org/sites/odi.org.uk/files/resource-documents/10683.pdf

McKinsey & Company. (2018). Women Matter: Time to accelerate. Ten years of insights into gender diversity. Available at https://www.empowerwomen.org/-/media/files/un%20women/empowerwomen/resources/hlp%20briefs/unhlp%20full%20report.pdf?la=en 

UN Women (2018) https://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/economic-empowerment/facts-and-figures

World Economic Forum. (2017). Women’s economic empowerment is the smart thing to do. What’s stopping us? https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/01/womens-economic-empowerment-is-the-smart-and-right-thing-to-do-whats-stopping-us/