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  HOME | Business & Economy (Click here for more)

Gender Equality Can Boost the Global Economy, ITC Head Says

SYDNEY – Participation of women in the world economy would make it grow equal to the combined GDP of the United States and China, the executive director of the International Trade Centre, or ITC, Arancha Gonzalez, told EFE on Thursday.

“The figures are absolutely clear,” said Gonzalez from Canberra, citing a study from McKinsey and Company called, The Power of Parity.

The study says the participation of women in the global labor market could add $28 billion to the international economy by the year 2025.

“Action must be taken to change discriminatory laws,” said the executive director of ITC, a joint agency of the United Nations and the World Trade Organization.

“Over 90 percent of countries have at least one law, which discriminates against women in relation to men in its economic activity,” said the Spanish expert, who is in Australia, her last stop after visits to New Zealand and Fiji.

Gonzalez said there are countries in which women “cannot inherit, sign a contract unless accompanied by the husband, brother or father, there are places where they have no access to credit and that is why there is a need to end legislative restrictions.”

Gonzalez also spoke about the need to pay fair wages to women and to have work contracts, which reconcile labor market integration and motherhood, and that couples should share domestic chores and the responsibility of educating their children.

The ITC promotes the empowerment of women through small and medium-sized enterprises, especially in developing countries, and has an eight point agenda that seeks to connect a million women entrepreneurs to the markets by 2020.

It is also working to make national statistics disaggregated by sex, to end policies that discriminate against women entrepreneurs and to improve the participation of women in public procurement processes.

“Public procurement represents $15 billion in the international market and it is estimated that only 1 percent of this market is catered to by women entrepreneurs,” Gonzalez said.

The expert also commented on problems faced by women in the informal market in developing countries and pointed out that often these arise from excessive bureaucracy or discriminatory taxation.

The executive director of ITC urged governments, organizations and companies to create better conditions for gender economic equality, a situation she said would also help ease the problem of refugees.

She also stressed the importance of improving education, health, services and infrastructure and strengthening economies with the creation of decent jobs, the promotion of entrepreneurship and aid for trade.

 

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