Simply put, when money flows into the hands of women who have the
authority to use it, everything changes.
Melinda French Gates
I am not satisfied in making money for myself. I endeavor to provide
employment to hundreds of women of my race.
Madame C. J. Walker
Entrepreneur and first woman millionaire in the U.S.
Women are critical to economic growth, but our abilities and contributions are almost always undervalued and rarely appreciated, let alone acknowledged. The systems and biases that have kept women from reaching their economic potential, individually and collectively, have been in place for a long time. COVID-19 has magnified the numerous inequalities women face at work and at home, with early data reflecting that women have lost their jobs at higher rates than men,1 are experiencing high and sustained unemployment rates,2 and are under more pressure to give up their jobs due to care responsibilities.3 But, at the same time, the pandemic has inspired new ways of thinking about work and how to end these inequalities.4
Increasing a woman’s participation in the economy is not only good for the individual woman, but it is also good for her family, for her community, and for her country. We know that if women participated in their economies at the same level as men, global GDP would increase by $12 to $28 trillion.5 Societies with greater gender equality and economic participation by women:
• Grow faster and more equitably
• Have lower rates of poverty
• Offer a wider array of consumer choices
• More successfully encourage innovation
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