Increased participation of women in workforce will lead to better outcomes: ILO report

The paper says that enterprises with gender-inclusive cultures are over 60 per cent more likely to have improved profits and productivity

By DTE Staff
Published: Monday 27 May 2019
Photo: Getty Images

The International Labour Organization (ILO) recently released its second global report, titled Women in Business and Management: The business case for change. After surveying around 13,000 enterprises in 70 countries, the report says that “a critical mass of 30 per cent women” is need by the enterprises “in order to reap the benefits of gender diversity”.  

The report highlights that almost half of the surveyed enterprises reported women holding less than 30 per cent of entry-level management positions. “Given these figures, it comes as no surprise that in 60 per cent of companies, fewer than 30 per cent of senior managers and top executives are women,” it says.

“We expected to see a positive correlation between gender diversity and business success, but these results are eye-opening,” Deborah France-Massin, Director of the ILO Bureau for Employers’ Activities, was quoted as saying. “When you consider the efforts companies make in other areas to get just an extra two or three per cent in profits, the significance is clear. Companies should look at gender balance as a bottom line issue, not just a human resource issue.”

The paper says that enterprises with gender-inclusive cultures “are over 60 per cent more likely to have improved profits and productivity”. They further write that such businesses are “9 per cent more likely to have improved business performance”.

Highlighting the gaps in the labour market, the report says that, across the world, men are still more likely to participate in the labour market than women. “The average global labour force participation rate of women in 2018 stood at 48.5 per cent, while that of men was 75 per cent. This equates to a 26.5 percentage point gender gap in labour force participation,” says the report.

Just for Asia and the Pacific, the average female labour force participation rate has declined from 52.9 in 1991 to 45.3 per cent in 2018, dropping by 7.6 percentage points.

To further strengthen the case for improved gender-balance at enterprises, the ILO analysis pointed to a study by the World Economic Forum, which predicted that “if the global gender gap in labour market participation is closed by 25 per cent by 2025, an additional $5.3 trillion would be added to GDP globally”.

“In an era of skill shortages, women represent a formidable talent pool that companies aren’t making enough of. Smart companies who want to be successful in the global economy should make genuine gender diversity a key ingredient of their business strategy. Representative business organizations and employer and business membership organizations must take a lead, promoting both effective policies and genuine implementation,” added France-Massin.

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