McKinsey: Boost gender parity -- and the GDP
Thursday, August 11, 2016
Posted by: Rufino Cabang
Full gender equality in
the United States could add up to $4.3 trillion to the annual gross domestic
product by 2025 – and companies can drive change, according to a new report
from the McKinsey Global Institute.
A more likely scenario,
where every U.S. state catches up to the states most rapidly progressing toward
workforce gender parity, would add $2.1 trillion — or 10 percent — to the
country’s GDP, according to The
Power of Parity: Advancing Women's Equality in the United States. This increase over the currently expected 2025
GDP would be the result of three factors: a higher number of female workers, a narrowing
of the gender gap in the mix of men and women working part-time and full-time,
and increasing women's employment in more productive workforce sectors, such as
professional business services and manufacturing.
While all U.S. states rate highly in gender equality, each has some distance
from an ideal state. Using a State Parity Score (SPS) of 1.00 to represent
perfect gender parity, the report shows that SPS results range from 0.58
(Alaska) to 0.74 (Maine). Northeastern states rate highest overall, states in
the South average the lowest, but "all states have an opportunity to
improve gender equality," McKinsey says.
What's stopping us?
McKinsey identified these six "impact zones" that negatively impact women’s
participation in the workforce — and their ability to advance to leadership
Representation in management.
McKinsey recommends companies take a comprehensive to advancing women, emphasizing
flexibility, hiring transparency and the support of women's networks.
Time spent in unpaid care work.
Increasing the amount of available paid parental leave has been shown to
decrease the rate of new mothers leaving their jobs.Single motherhood. Initiatives that offer skills training and
childcare solutions will increase the likelihood of better jobs for low-income,
Teenage pregnancy. Education, access to birth control and media
messaging can all contribute to a decline in teen birth rates.
Political representation. Training and fundraising programs for women
running for office can help balance gender inequality in political leadership.
Violence against women. Preventive and practical programs, including
education, shelter and legal services, are valuable tools for women in need of
safety, financial empowerment and independence.
A win for everyone
Interventions in four of
the impact zones — unpaid care work, management positions, single motherhood
and teenage pregnancy— in the 10 most affected U.S. states would improve
equality for more than 50 percent of the women affected. Organizations can help,
the report says, by considering their own unique skills and advantages in the
effort to narrow gender inequality state by state.
the clout not only to drive change within their own organizations,"
McKinsey notes, "but also to inspire action and motivate change in the
broader community through financial support and public advocacy and by
providing the human resources and capital required to kick-start a movement."