This essay is mainly based on Åsa Löfström´s report Gender equality, economic growth and employment. Åsa Löfström is the Associate Professor at the Department of Economics at the Umeå University in Sweden. During the conference on Female Employment and Economic growths, which took part in Stockholm on 12th September 2013, she presented main questions connected to her report, published in 2009. First question was of whether female employment rate matters for GDP and GDP-growth. If the answer is yes two other questions have to follow: 1. What strategies and actions have to be taken in order to “exploit” the economic potential there is in rising female employment and 2. How to fulfil these actions. The aim of my essay is to discuss the relation between gender equality and economic growth, formulated in three questions, and to illustrate this relation on the example of the European Union.
My essay is divided into two parts. In the first part I am focused on the first question and I analyse Åsa Löfström´s report, OECD and World Bank Group´s documents and the scientific works of other scientists, such as Roger Mortvik and Roland Spant, Mark Smith, Kabeer and Natali. In the second part I am more specific and I try to find answers on the second and third question. Whereas these questions involve the strategies and actions to exploit the economic potential in female employment, I will focus on the EU level to give you a particular example.
1. GENDER EQUALITY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Åsa Löfström´s report analyses the connection between gender equality, economic growth and employment. If we want to find an answer on the first question (Whether female employment rate matters for GDP and GDP-growth), we should first define the term gender equality. As we are focused on the labour market, equality means „women and men working to the same extent in paid jobs, having an equal share of part-time work and self-employment. (Löfström, 2009, p. 5) Löfström claims that achievement of this equality means that GDP could substantially rise of 15 - 45 % in the EU member states. (Löfström, 2009, p. 5)
In the article “Does gender equality spur growth?” Roger Mortvik and Roland Spant argue that “…the birth rate trend is positive and the demographic structure more balanced in countries where gender equality in the workplace is more developed… These countries… point to…higher labor activity and a more robust economy” (Mortvik 14). United Nations Population Fund also claims that empowerment of women has positive effects not only on economic growth, but also on health and productivity of families and communities, so it brings improvement to social sector. Empowered women can improve well-being of their child who will help economy to grow. Gender equality is of a big importance in economic progress and growth and in human development.
In addition, World Bank Group also sees the positive effect of women empowerment on whole society. It claims that...