Gender equality, essential in achieving economic development

The global fight for gender equality hoarded the spotlight during the past couple of months. The #MeToo and #TimesUp movements generated an unparalleled social awareness and as a result, society is now facing a new challenge: to succeed in achieving gender equality in terms of economic participation.

So, exactly how can gender equality push for a sustainable and inclusive economic development?

*It has been proven that organizations detect a higher level of efficiency and greater rate of innovation in teams where both genders are present. The combined perspectives, skills and talents of men and women undoubtedly bring about synergies.

*Getting women to fully participate in the economy would increase the resources available for them and their families. This would positively affect investment in human capital (through health and education), something that is essential to achieve sustainable economic development.

*Furthermore, women’s economic participation would imply integrating the other half of the world’s population in decision-making and implementing policies that guarantee an inclusive progress for all.

UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner, and UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, penned this article asserting that despite the advances, women are still burdened with unpaid domestic tasks. They also point out how socio-cultural norms hinder women from receiving training, opening a business or simply participating in public life. Because of these, the authors call on to every member of the society, the public and private sectors, communities and families, so that we could all move towards gender equality. As the article states, “The cost of doing nothing is too high for the economies as a whole.”

The BBVA Microfinance Foundation’s work is aligned with this initiative, fostering women’s economic empowerment through financial inclusion. The Foundation and UN Women signed a MoU to strengthen their commitment towards achieving the SDG 5, Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment. Similarly, Achim Steiner, during the session hosted by the BBVAMF in the United Nations, acknowledged that, “Financial inclusion is essential for the achievement of SDGs and the means to fulfill the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

Making the business case for gender equality