The global economy will derive more benefits by empowering women to overcome certain economic challenges. David Lipton, first Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) says some of the benefits derivable from empowerment of women include the capacity to boost global gross domestic product (GDP), support for economic transformation and diversification which could produce more stable and sustainable economic growth.
He also believes that empowerment of women can lower inequality in gender employment and bolster economic output in countries that are currently experiencing aging population.“The empowerment of women will be a game changer for the global economy. However, this will not be an overnight change as it requires measures that will gradually enhance their inclusion over time,” Lipton says.
James Heinz, a professor of Economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, says it has become imperative for developing societies to end the exclusion of the jobs done by women such as fetching water, gathering fire woods and preparing meals at homes from macroeconomic calculation of the GDP. He explains that the monetary values of what it would cost to employ people to do these jobs need to be calculated.
Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, chair, Action Aid International Board, calls for a shift in the discussion from empowering women as labour force to encouraging their participation as entrepreneurs and innovators in business. “The issues around women’seconomic empowerment are a human rights one and addressing macroeconomics as it affects women is addressing gender inequality,” she says.
By Dike Onwuamaeze