World Bank report: Unrealized Potential – The High Cost of Gender Inequality in Earnings

This lack of opportunities for girls and women entails large economic costs not only for them, but also for their households and countries.

This is from the May 2018 report (pdf) from the World Bank which aims to measure the global economic costs of gender inequality.  This report is the first in the series.

The report finds:

  • Globally, women account for only 38 percent of human capital wealth versus 62 percent for men. In low- and lower-middle income countries, women account for a third or less of human capital wealth
  • On a per capita basis, gender inequality in earnings could lead to losses in wealth of $23,620 per person globally. These losses differ between regions and countries because levels of human capital wealth, and thereby losses in wealth due to gender inequality, tend to increase in absolute values with economic development
  • Two main factors lead women to have less earnings and thereby lower human capital wealth than men: lower labor force participation rates and fewer hours worked in the labor market, and lower pay. These factors keep many women in a productivity trap due in part to social norms relegating them to unpaid care and informal work
  • To increase women’s earnings and human capital wealth, investments throughout the life cycle are needed, from early childhood development and learning in schools to building job-relevant skills that employers demand, encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation, and ensuring that both women and men have equal access to opportunities and resources.

Read the full report (pdf).

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