Planet earth has approximately 7.6 billion people live on it right as you are reading this. There are nearly 50% females on the planet, which is round about 3.8 billion. Without a doubt, the natural result of this should be women contributing to the economies of the world by at least half, but unfortunately, that is not always the case, at least not in all countries of the world.
There are many ways in which women of the world already do contribute to economic growths. A simple example of this would be the cosmetics industry. For example, the cosmetics industry, which serves a female majority, makes important social and economic contributions in China, the country with the largest population in the world, specifically 1.4 billion people.
In 2012, the Personal Care Products Council, based in Washington DC, released a study entitled Economic and Social Contributions of the Personal Care Products Industry in China. This study found that the industry was directly or indirectly responsible for the employment of more than 2.5 million Chinese workers, accounting for CNY 53bn in labour income, and contributing by CNY 164bn to the gross domestic product (GDP).
“As well as the impact on economic growth in China, the employment of women is also a big contributing factor of the industry. Women make up 80% of the workforce in the industry, compared to an average of 35% across the entire Chinese workforce. The industry is also a leader in energy efficient manufacturing practices, and many of the industry’s manufacturers are using renewable energy sources and leveraging technology to conserve water use and minimize waste,” Cosmetics Design Asia reported.
In Saudi Arabia, women contribute in new and different ways to the economy of their country. In addition to having jobs in various fields that allow them to directly contribute to the health and balance of the economy, women have recently been allowed to drive cars in the streets of Saudi Arabia, as the ban on driving women was lifted near the end of last month. “Allowing Saudi women to drive could help the kingdom reap as much income as selling shares in Saudi Aramco. “Lifting the ban on driving is likely to increase the number of women seeking jobs, boosting the size of the workforce and lifting overall incomes and output,” according to Ziad Daoud, Dubai-based chief Middle East economist for Bloomberg Economics.
Moving on to Africa, Ethiopia seems to realize the importance of having women integrated into the economic game. Recently, the Ethiopian Ministry of Women and Children Affairs (MoWCA) has stated that there will be more emphasis to create women investors in the nation. On the role of women in the economy in Ethiopia, the MoWCA minister said that women are becoming more and more active and productive on the investment sector. “Several model women investors are coming into scene in different parts of the country, however, in comparison with the total population size, there is still a gap. 51% of the population is women, but the number of women investors in comparison with the total population size is insignificant. This means that they are not in the position to affect their locality in particular and the country in general, but the government has been working to support and initiative, as well as strengths women entrepreneurs,” the minister added, according to The Ethiopian Herald.
A new report from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank, said that “by ramping up lending to female entrepreneurs, banks in Tunisia could dramatically increase their profits, while also driving economic growth across the country.” Women, who own about one-fifth of Tunisia’s businesses, represent a vast untapped market for lenders, however, many women still struggle to get funding for their firms. “While Tunisia has some of the most progressive women’s right laws in the Middle East and North Africa, that has not translated into increased economic opportunities, the report found. “Women account for only about one-third of all employees and, on average, are paid about 15% less than their male colleagues,” Al Bawaba Business reported.
On the other hand, an interesting study that was conducted near the end of last month said that statistical agencies and government bodies have significantly undervalued women’s contribution to the economy. “The previous methods economists used to determine human capital—the combined measure of an individual’s skills, education, capacity, and labour attributes that influence their productive and earning potential—are insufficient, having largely ignored the advances of women in the workplace,” said professor of economics Audra Bowlu.
“Countries, statistical agencies, and organizations like the International Monetary Fund or the United Nations try to do comparisons of growth over time—of human capital input, as compared to the physical capital. Both contribute to the GDP. Working with professor of economics Chris Robinson, she has co-authored a paper titled The Evolution of the Human Capital of Women. The paper explores wage-based and job skills-based approaches to measuring the increase in women’s human capital, over the last four decades in the United States.
The findings suggest post-war economic growth and women’s contribution to that growth is substantially underestimated. New approaches to measuring human capital are needed,” said Bowlus.
It turns out that a lot of that growth in our initial measure actually came from women. There’s growth from men; it is not inconsequential. But there are a lot of things changing for women over this period of time, from the late 1960s to the 2010s, according to the study.