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Closing the Gender Gap

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Closing the Gender Gap

The economic benefits of bringing more women into the labor force are greater than previously thought

Finance & Development ,

5 min read
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Gender equality in the labor force improves GDP, and government policies can redress disparities.

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It is old news that women make less money than men, even in the same profession and with similar levels of experience and education. But new research tallies the macroeconomic impacts of the disparities, suggesting that promoting workforce gender equality can deliver economic growth in both developed and emerging economies. This insightful, accessible article by IMF researcher Era Dabla-Norris and HR professional Kalpana Kochhar highlights the steps government officials should take to redress the issue.


A recent study by the IMF reveals the extent to which the disadvantages women face in labor markets lower economic growth and impede productivity. The developed countries see an estimated GDP loss of 10%, while some developing economies are missing out on upward of 30% of their potential. Research suggests that the economic benefits of tearing down those barriers may bring more sustainability as well as increases in output. One study shows higher levels of financial stability at banks when their boards of supervision have more gender diversity...

About the Authors

Era Dabla-Norris is a division chief in the fiscal affairs department of the International Monetary Fund. Kalpana Kochhar directs the IMF’s human resources department.

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