ILO What Works Research Brief No. 10

Economic impacts of reducing the gender gap

Closing the gender gap in participation by 25 per cent by 2025 could increase global GDP by US$5.3 trillion

In the past decade, progress made in narrowing the gender gap in labour market participation has slowed. This trend is worrisome given that a recent Gallup–ILO study highlighted that most women – some 70 per cent – prefer to work in a paid job regardless of their labour market status. This indicates that there are significant obstacles restricting women’s freedom to participate fully in the labour market, with potential negative effects on individual welfare and economic growth. Should progress in narrowing the gender gap continue to stall, the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, notably to end poverty (Goal 1), to achieve gender equality (Goal 5) and to promote inclusive and sustainable growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all (Goal 8), will be difficult to attain.