Closing gender gaps could add trillions to the global economy: ILO

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A young woman looking at her cell phone in Washington, USA. Photo World Bank/Simone D. McCourtie

Closing gender gaps by 25 per cent by 2025 could add US$ 5.8 trillion to the global economy and boost tax revenue, a new report by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) says.

Northern Africa, the Arab States and Southern Asia would see the greatest benefits given that in these regions, the gaps in participation rates between men and women exceed 50 percentage points.

The ILO, which monitors global employment trends, releases its flagship World Economic and Social Outlook (WESO) every year.

Matthew Wells reports.

The ILO report provides a portrait of the situation of women in the world of work today and their progress over the past 20 years.

A key finding of the report is that gaps between men and women in the labour market remain widespread.

Closing these gaps and labour market outcomes, however, would yield significant economic benefits.

But there are still barriers to overcome, the agency highlights. For example, far fewer women participate in the labour market than men.

And once in the job market, they are less likely than men to find a job and the quality of employment remains a key concern.

Steven Tobin, a lead author of the report, says the world needs to start changing its attitude towards the role of women in the world of work and in society.

The ILO report concludes by calling for "equal pay for work of equal value", recognizing and reducing unpaid care work, transforming institutions to prevent and eliminate discrimination, violence and harassment against women and men at work.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 54"

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