Women’s economic participation

Womens economic participation

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Enablers, barriers, responses

Few topics have recently received more comment or been so studied than gender diversity, the difficulties in promoting it, and the possible remedies in overcoming obstacles to achieving it. Despite this—and despite the significant efforts on the part of both governments and businesses across the globe to close the gender gap—advances in gender diversity have tended to be incremental rather than substantial.

This paper seeks to provide perspectives and insight from working women in Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Spain, Sweden, and the US in respect of the socioeconomic enablers of and barriers to women’s economic participation in those countries. We also sought views on the country-specific organisational and governmental interventions to reduce the gender gap and increase female economic participation in those eight countries.

Discussions took place with over 100 businesswomen across the eight countries studied. It proved interesting that while interviewees were asked to comment primarily on socioeconomic factors and the local responses to those factors, the impact of cultural stereotypes was such that this topic tended to be repeatedly raised by the interviewees themselves and was frequently cited as a significant barrier to female economic participation. For this reason, we have included a range of observations regarding cultural perceptions, as well as the interviewees’ own views about the impact of cultural stereotypes on gender equality.