Gender equality in the job market could boost GDP by 10% in 17 years

Equalising the labour market by getting more women into work could see the economy grow 10% by 2030, a report by the Women’s Business Council (WBC) has found.

The government backed report released today explains that, although things have changed for women in the workplace, they are still more likely than men to be in low paid jobs.

The report said that women are only half as likely as their male counterparts to set up a new business with 2.4 million women out of work who want to work, and a further 1.3 million who would like to increase hours spent in the workplace. If as many women as men set up a new business, there would be 1 million more entrepreneurs in the UK the report said.

According to the WBC, if women were able to maximise their potential, it could lead to a 0.5% growth in GDP a year, potentially 10% by 2030.

Ruby McGregor-Smith Chair of the WBC said:

"Our national economy needs women’s contribution, and action is required to remove the obstacles that currently restrict women from realising their full potential."

The report also highlights the barriers keeping women out of top positions. These include the segmentation of ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ careers which leaves women more likely to be in low paid jobs, and inflexibility for working parents.

The main recommendations of the report include working in schools to broaden girls' aspirations and career choices, increasing support for women entrepreneurs, and encouraging businesses to embrace flexible working.

McGregor-Smith said:

"Today’s workforce is changing and is becoming more diverse, however further change is required to create a national skills base that can meet the demands of a global market. If we don’t take action to address this, the economic impact will be significant and we will lose competitiveness internationally."

“By creating opportunity for all, raising aspirations and enabling people to maximise their talents, we will deliver stronger economic growth.”