The Gender Dividend: An urgent economic imperative
By Roger Dassen - December 15, 2011
The biggest issue facing many of the world’s economies today is economic growth and job creation; yet it is with mixed results that governments and business are tapping into arguably the largest emerging market in the world and the greatest natural resource for knowledge, talent and investment: women. Statistics strongly demonstrate that there is in fact a gender dividend, but despite progress, there is a long way to go with respect to improving women’s economic opportunity and thereby harnessing the potential of the gender dividend.
What is needed is focused government policy and business engagement at all levels to support women at work. Sound socio-economic policies must underpin and encourage action, and governments, along with business, must innovate, support community investment, and remain committed to making the difference as it relates to women. Amongst business this means measurable, management-led policies and practices to drive female leadership across management roles and divisions, on boards, at the highest executive levels (the C-suite), and throughout the talent and supply chains. Many companies worldwide are making significant strides, but ongoing commitment is needed.
This is not just a question of the trillions of dollars of untapped consumer demand that women represent, but the potential for better, more informed decision-making in our societies, an educated and diverse source of talent for private and public institutions, and role models who can be an inspiration to billions of women and men worldwide. Government, business, and society must continue to integrate women’s experiences, perspectives and voices into the fabric of their organizations and systems. Only then will we truly benefit from the gender dividend.
For more on this issue, read the full article (PDF). Also read and download Deloitte Global Public Sector's report "The gender dividend: Making the business case for investing in women."
Charles Heeter is with the DTTL Global Public Policy Group and a principal in the U.S. member firm. In his role, he engages in Deloitte global public policy initiatives, is responsible for building cooperative relationships with capital markets stakeholder groups, and helps coordinate the Deloitte global regulatory network. Heeter is also Chairman of the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).