/ 07.17.23 /

If You’re Concerned About the Economy, Get More Money Into Women’s Hands

“When women do better, economies do better. All economies have savings and productivity gains if women have access to the job market. It’s not just a moral, philosophical, or equal-opportunity matter. It’s also an economic cause. It just makes economic sense. It’s a no-brainer.”
– Christine Lagarde, President, European Central Bank

Getting more women into paying jobs — ones that pay equitably and offer opportunity for advancement — is essential to our economic growth.

As the UN Women website states, “When more women work, economies grow.” Here are just a couple of data points that support this:

  • Equal pay would add $512.6 billion to the U.S. economy, according to a 2017 study by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.
  • Globally, we could raise economic activity by approximately $7 trillion if we closed the gender gap in both labor force participation and management, according to an analysis by Moody’s in March 2023 — and that’s focusing on the opportunity in OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries alone.

And for a little celebrity appeal, Trevor Noah recently spoke about the impact of investing in women at the 2023 Inclusive Growth Summit.

So, how do we get more money into more women’s hands? One of the clearest strategies: Investing in caregiving solutions that free up women’s time for paid work. The Center for American Progress reports that, “regardless of age or parental status, women were a staggering five to eight times more likely to experience a caregiving impact on their employmentin 2022.”

This is especially true among low-wage earners, who, as I shared recently with MBA Chic, represent nearly half of all working women — 46% or 28 million — with median earnings of only $10.93 per hour, according to the Brookings Institution. Breaking down the barriers keeping these women from the workforce is key to closing the wage chasm (because it’s definitely a chasm, not a mere “gap”.)

Here at Working for Women, we are part of Nationswell’s Studio Childcare Collaborative, a coordinated effort to advance equity and access in the childcare infrastructure so that millions more women — especially low-wage earners — have the opportunity to enter, return, and remain in the workforce.

As Melinda French Gates’s company, Pivotal Ventures, explains on the company’s website,

“The market for products and services that help consumers care for the people in their lives is huge. In fact, in 2019, the care economy totaled at least $648 billion, making it $138 billion larger than the U.S. pharmaceutical industry.”

Ka-ching! As a long-time advocate for the ways in which investing in women is good for all of us, it’s thrilling to see such clear alignment between freeing women up for paid work, and business opportunity.

Another way to get more women working: invest with Working for Women. Our community invests in three key categories across our nonprofit partner network:

  • Connecting women to jobs — Expanding access to employment with livable wages and career paths. For example, earlier this year we launched an innovative partnership with an employment program called CareerCircle. With the mission to close the opportunity divide and develop the workforce of tomorrow, CareerCircle is a natural partner for W4W.
  • Investing in education and training — Increasing and broadening knowledge and skills so women can enter and advance in the workplace. For example, in March we launched the Connecting Women to Training and Jobs Program, which aims to increase skills and access to in-demand high-tech jobs. With investment from our community, we are supporting five women, identified by two of our nonprofit partners; at the end of their six-month training, the women will be ready to access the CareerCircle employment platform to apply for and be supported in their journey to attain jobs in tech. Our early learnings are quite promising and our hope is to expand the program to more women in 2024.
  • Changing the conversation — Raising awareness of issues and biases impacting women’s access and success in the workforce. For example, see…this article that you’re reading ;).

As you’ll note, partnerships are key to our model here at Working for Women, and this is deliberate: There are so many of us working to close the gender pay chasm, and the more we align our efforts, the more impact we can have, together.

Getting more women into the paying workforce is just good economics, and that benefits us all. It really is a no brainer!