The price tag on the gender pay gap in the global workplace could be as high as $160 trillion in lost earnings, according to a new World Bank study.
The amount is so staggering that it beggars belief that the case for gender pay equality is still being debated.
Another report by KPMG Australia found that if the gender pay gap in Australia were halved and entrenched discrimination against women in the workforce was reduced, then this could result in a massive payoff to society valued at $60 billion in GDP by 2038.
The KPMG report also uses economic modelling to show that taking focused steps to increase female participation rates could deliver a $140 billion lift in living standards in 20 years’ time.
What’s clear to me is that both women and men, indeed the world’s families would be so much better off financially, if more women and girls were encouraged to forge careers for themselves, and were supported to do so.
One of the biggest problems holding women back is that we have very different parental responsibilities than men because by-and-large we tend to do most of the primary caring for children.
Even when more women want to have a career, we are not always supported by partners, family or child care arrangements, to make that happen. And often we hold ourselves back too but not sharing those roles more when it is available.
I’ve oversimplified a very complicated and touchy issue. But I truly it is a problem that can be improved upon.
Investing in women and girls would help to increase the wealth of both high- and low-income states, said the World Bank report’s author Quentin Wodon, lead economist.
“Everybody would benefit from gender equality,” reported the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
The $160 trillion figure represents around 2 percent of global gross domestic product and amounts to an average disparity of $23,620 per person globally.
Women account for only 38 percent of the global human capital wealth and face barriers in the work force in practically every country, according to the World Bank.
Women are less likely than men to join the paid labor force and when they do they are more likely to work part-time, in the informal sector, or in occupations that have lower pay, the World Bank said.
This is certainly the case in Australia where there are nearly double the number of women working part-time than in full-time work.