economic advancement of womenWomen compose over half of the world’s population, however, our contributions to measured economic activity, growth, and security remains considerably below its potential. The challenges of growth, job creation, and involvement are all closely interconnected. Growth and stability are essential in order to give women the necessary opportunities, however, our participation within the labor market is also a component in the growth and stability relationship. Improved opportunities for women also supports extensive economic development. In addition, women are more likely to invest a large percentage of their household income in the education of their children. There also can be a meaningful progression of educated women becoming female models when an increased level of female labor force participation and earnings result in higher school enrollment expenses for children. 

Fair and Equal?

The implementation of public policies that remove labor market misrepresentations and promote a level playing field give women the opportunity to develop their potential and noticeably partake in economic life. Equal access to guidance and information increases the productivity of female-owned businesses. Employment of women on an equal basis permits for businesses to make better use of the talent pool. There has been evidence of a positive impact on organizational performance when women are present on boards and in senior management positions. In addition, more gender-diverse boards may enrich corporate governance by offering a wider range of perspectives. A larger share of women in decision-making positions could reduce the portion of high-risk financial transactions, which are typically conducted by their male colleagues. Businesses that employ female managers are better situated to serve consumer markets dominated by women. 

Public Policy Reforms

Tax-friendly policies encourage women’s labor force participation. The Earned Income Tax Credit has been proven to advance women’s employment. Improvements had been made to this tax credit under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and should become permanent. The objective of many fiscal policy reforms is to enhance the employment of both men and women, however, methods that are gender neutral have a disproportionately positive effect on women.

New legislation that supports households to have two working parents while providing tax relief would be beneficial. A national system of paid family leave funded through a public-private partnership would strengthen women’s labor force participation. Legislation that guarantees flexible work arrangements, including telework and/ or compressed schedules may also increase female participation within the labor force. Part-time employment also has become an entry-point into the labor market for women whom are constrained by family responsibilities. The facilitation of a transition from part-time to full-time can aid in mitigating the lower pay and benefits as well as the limited career opportunities associated with part-time work.

By supporting women in the workplace and at home through improved access to comprehensive, affordable, high-quality child care, it facilitates the ability to be successful professionally. This professional success can be translated into empowering women to become involved through similar mechanisms. Application of existing anti-discrimination laws to pursue employers who stigmatize those take leave is also worthy of consideration. Caregiver discrimination is a proxy for gender bias and is grounds for legal action under Title VII under the Civil Rights Act. Discrimination also restricts the demand for female labor. If a level playing field could be implemented it would help improve the demand for female labor.

Enhanced access to finance and training and more developed support networks amongst female entrepreneurs will help intensify the productivity of organizations owned and operated by women. Social acceptance of women in the labor market as well as in high-level positions contributes to an increased level of female participation within entrepreneurship and the formal labor force. Policies that promote economic opportunities for women have been linked positively with female economic success.

Lastly, policies that incentivize organizations to increase women’s advancement efforts through an increased level of transparency and better reporting can aid within the employment of women. It can also support the development of data and benchmarks, including equal pay, and the gender composition of the workforce. By examining potential public policies such as these, it is possible to increase female labor force participation, which will in turn benefit the economy.

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