Monday, February 23, 2015

Devaluing women’s work has costs for the economy

 An economy that is permanently subsidised by the exploitation of women’s work is dysfunctional and can only bend so far before it breaks. Relying on women’s unpaid care work and limiting their access to paid employment is costly, unsustainable and makes no economic sense. According to the ILO, globally an additional US$1.6 trillion in output could be generated by reducing the gaps in employment between women and men.

However, simply getting more women into the labour market as a means to boost growth, as the briefing further shows, has far too often led to the knock-on effect of women putting their lives on the line and further subsiding today’s dysfunctional economy by working backbreaking jobs for little recognition or reward.

These days even the International Financial Institutions acknowledge that economic growth alone won’t lead to the greater empowerment of women and gender equality, or alleviate poverty if women remain in low-skilled and undervalued jobs. Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank, has stated that if both growth rates and income distribution remain unchanged, world poverty will only fall by 10% by 2030, which is far from enough.

Investing in social security, on the other hand, boosts economies, and drives equality and more and better jobs, especially for women. In Brazil, for example, women’s participation in the labour market has increased by 15% over the past two decades to almost 60%. Comprehensive social security programmes, including introduction of minimum wage, boosted women’s incomes and saw the bulk of resources spent on families’ wellbeing, fuelling financial independence and employment for women.

No comments:

Post a Comment