Economies across the world need the equal participation of women and men to achieve their full potential and meet the challenges of the 21st century. Yet, the economic participation of women remains stubbornly low in many countries, holding back the private sector and countries alike.
Women face persistent barriers in labor markets mainly because of discrimination and culturally entrenched ideas about gender roles. Globally, over 2.7 billion women are legally restricted from having the same choice of jobs as men, according to World Bank Group’s Women, Business and the Law research.
If women participated in the global economy at the same rate as men, economic output could rise by as much as a third. Companies that invest in women’s employment gain an important competitive advantage because they reach a wider talent pool, realize enhanced productivity, and improve staff retention. Better jobs for women lead to higher income levels and more decision-making influence. That has broader societal effects, increasing household spending on children’s nutrition, health, and education.
IFC works with the private sector to expand employment opportunities.
We work with client firms to identify opportunities and strategies to improve the workplace so both women and men can perform well in their jobs. We partner with the clients to conduct firm-level assessments to identify gender gaps in the workforce and develop action plans to institute new or strengthen existing policies and practices to recruit, retain, and promote more women.
Focus areas for IFC include boosting the number of women in leadership, expanding family-friendly policies such as childcare, and addressing gender-based violence. IFC also helps its clients measure and communicate the business case for investing in women’s employment.