Gender and Inclusion

"About 90 percent of countries still have legal barriers to female economic participation. Realizing the massive potential of women is an economic no-brainer and must be a priority."

–David Lipton, First Deputy Managing Director


Women, Work, and Leadership: One-on-One Conversation with Kristalina Georgieva

This one-on-one conversation will focus on the macro-criticality of gender equality, including the need to increase the presence of women at the highest levels of decision-making, and how to address barriers to women's career growth, such as unpaid work and how it influences women's decisions to enter the labor market.

Opening Remarks: Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director, IMF

Moderator: Ravi Agrawal, Managing Editor, Foreign Policy Magazine

Key Points:

The Role of FundGeorgieva argued that the IMF has a role in bringing forward analytical work on the effects of gender inequality. IMF research shows that countries cannot fully prosper without tapping into all its talent. For example, Sweden’s GDP would be 4 percent higher if women fully participated in the economy on equal terms, and in Senegal GDP would be 8 percent higher. She also added that research shows that companies are more profitable when they have more women on their boards, because diverse teams contribute to better decisions.

Unpaid work. In her first blog on imf.orgGeorgieva cited recent IMF analytical work which shows that if unpaid work was counted, global GDP would increase by 35-40 percent. Women do more unpaid work than men, on average 2.5 hours more per day. However, the margin differs significantly across countries: in Norway, women do 20 percent more work, in Japan it is 380 percent, in Pakistan as much as 1000 percent. The unequal distribution of unpaid work is not only unfair, it is also inefficient since you have high-skilled women doing unskilled work.

How to promote changeGeorgieva stressed that while political will is needed to take concrete steps, cultures take time to change. As an example of concrete action, she mentioned India where measures had been taken to improve transit security for women, thus allowing more women to go to work. Other practical measures include taxation that favors female labor force participation and child care provision. In response to a question on what men can do to help, Georgieva said that it is important that men recognize the historical injustice and that we now are working to correct it. When asked by a participant in the audience about legislation of quotas of women in boards, she spoke in favor of quotas, noting that while they are not a perfect solution, they constitute a practical means to achieve concrete change. 


Gen Z: Finding Its Voice: Meet Natasha Mwansa


#IMFinspired is proud to host @TashaWangMuanza, a leading advocate for youth. Join us to tackle the issues of Gen Z in Africa and beyond: the staggering human and economic costs of child marriage, access to health and education, and the imperative of gender equality.

Opening Remarks: Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director, IMF

Moderator: Sabina Bhatia, Deputy Secretary, IMF 

Panelists: Natasha Mwansa

Key Points:

Health Care. Mwansa identified adolescent health care as one of the central issues facing her generation, as unaddressed health care issues can have cascading effects later in life. A key obstacle is lack of knowledge about health care issues and health care rights. 

Child Marriage. With 12 million girls under 18 married each year, and billions spent on the consequences of child marriage, Mwansa argued that policymakers should make investments that will address the root causes of child marriage, including poverty, lack of education, and outdated social norms. Bhatia noted that a forthcoming IMF staff working paper would explore the relationship between child marriage and economic growth.

Girls and Education. At present 130 million girls aged 6-17 are not enrolled in school worldwide. Mwansa noted that without education in these formative years, girls were missing a prime opportunity for self-actualization, with long-term consequences.

“Invest and Involve Us.” Mwansa called on policymakers in the audience to invest in Generation Z, but to also let youth help decide the priority areas for investment and how these funds would be allocated.

Youth’s Take: Tackling Inequality in the 21st Century

Inequality, both between and within countries, constitutes a major challenge that can be magnified by climate change and rapid urbanization. Young generations are more likely to be at risk of poverty. The IMF’s Chief Economist, Gita Gopinath, shared the stage with two F&D magazine’s global student essay contest winners and discussed how best to tackle inequality in the 21th century.

Moderator: Gita Gopinath, Economic Counsellor and Director Research Department, IMF 

Opening Remarks: Carla Grasso, Deputy Managing Director and Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), IMF

Presenter: Elizabeth Schulze, Technology Correspondent, CNBC International

Panelists: Lyndsay Walsh, Graduate Student, Trinity College Dublin, and F&D Essay Contest Winner

Tarik Gooptu, Graduate, University of Oxford, and F&D Essay Contest Runner Up

Key Points:

Youth and inequality. Schulze presented evidence showing that income inequality is even worse for the younger generations. With aging populations, the financing of pay-as-you-go social assistance programs and pensions is shifting the burden on to the youth. Grasso emphasized that it is important to hear the voice of young people on how to tackle these issues.

Climate change and inequality. Although low and middle-income countries are responsible for only a small percentage of global greenhouse gases, they are disproportionately affected by climate change. Walsh noted that climate change may exacerbate existing inequalities. Gopinath agreed and emphasized that climate change is a medium- to long-run problem that needs to be dealt with urgently.

Urbanization and inequality. An often overlooked issue is the large inequities within cities. Cities are often the home to both the highest earners and the most dispossessed. Gooptu noted that the rapid urbanization may thus lead to larger inequality.

Tackle inequality. Walsh stressed that proper institutions, multilateral cooperation, and an international climate fund are needed to tackle climate change and the rising inequality. Gooptu noted that a smart and data-driven urban planning framework, enabled by effective public-private partnerships, is crucial to reduce inequality.



Promoting Women’s Financial Inclusion: The Role of the IMF’s Financial Access Survey

How can policymakers design strategies for women’s financial inclusion that are backed by evidence? This talk features women financial access data collection from the Financial Access Survey (FAS). It also provides insights from recent research by the Office of the UN Secretary General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development on how policymakers are using data disaggregated by gender to design policies for financial inclusion of women.


What We Know about Fintech and Financial Inclusion

Is the growing use of technology in financial services helping financial inclusion? We construct a unique digital financial inclusion index covering 52 developing and emerging economies to help measure its impact and understand its macroeconomic implications. 

Gender and Economics

Despite significant progress in recent decades, labor markets across the world remain divided along gender lines. Female labor force participation has remained lower than male participation, gender wage gaps are high, and women are overrepresented in the informal sector and among the poor. In many countries, legal restrictions persist which constrain women from developing their full economic potential.

While equality between men and women is in itself an important development goal, women's economic participation is also a part of the growth and stability equation. In rapidly aging economies, higher female labor force participation can boost growth by mitigating the impact of a shrinking workforce. Better opportunities for women can also contribute to broader economic development in developing economies, for instance through higher levels of school enrollment for girls.


Closing the Gender Gap

The economic benefits of bringing more women into the labor force are greater than previously thought

By: Era Dabla-Norris and Kalpana Kochhar