At the G20 Summit 2014, leaders have agreed to tackle the persisting gender employment gap in their respective countries. The final agreement is to decrease the gap by 25 percent by 2025.
The gender employment gap varies from region to region. Developed regions generally have a lower gap, while developing regions have a higher gap. Currently in OECD countries, where the gap is one of the lowest, there is a 12 percent difference between the sustained, legal employment of men and women. In North Africa and the Middle East, where the gap is the one of the highest, there is a 50 percent difference in employment between men and women.
Ways of tackling the gap also vary region-to-region and country-to-country. Approaches include increasing access to education and childcare and making maternity leave options more attractive and widely available. More innovative approaches include things like fostering women in business and finance, creating opportunities for women in the public sector and encouraging investment in higher education for women.
Reaching the goal of decreasing the gap by 25 percent will add 100 million jobs for women across the world and add $1 trillion to the global economy.
In 2015, Turkey will take over leadership of the Summit. As the G20 country with one of the highest gender employment gaps, as well as its position at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and the Middle East, Turkey and its leadership will be in the spotlight on this issue. For them especially, tackling the gap will mean pulling a large number of people into the workforce, which will create opportunities for households in poverty to have another income-generator.
The G20, in an official statement, said that this agreement “will significantly increase global growth and reduce poverty and inequality.” The G20 acts, in some ways, as an agenda-setter for the rest of the world. Effects on the gender employment gap could be seen in much more impoverished areas of the world simply because it is being addressed by the biggest economies in the world market. Employing women and expanding the workforce increases generated income, possibly creating drastic, positive outcomes for poorer, smaller economies.
– Caitlin Huber