International Finance Corporation

Economic growth is more robust and sustainable when women and men alike participate fully in the labor market. Better jobs for women—employment that leads to higher wages and greater decision-making—also have a positive influence on the ways households spend money on children’s nutrition, health, and education. Meanwhile, companies that invest in women’s employment gain an important competitive advantage.

Yet despite the persuasive evidence that gender equality has a transformative effect on productivity and growth, women’s full economic and productive potential remains unrealized in many parts of the world. Globally, while women’s education levels have increased and educated women now earn more than their uneducated peers, gender gaps in labor-market participation and wage levels persist. Women continue to be underrepresented in formal and higher value-added employ

The private sector, which accounts for almost nine out of 10 jobs in developing countries, has a critical role to play in ensuring that women have better employment opportunities. Employment practices that enhance productivity and create working conditions appropriate to women’s specific circumstances are often overlooked. But a growing number of companies are seeing the opportunity, even in sectors considered non-traditional for women.

This report— Investing in Women´s Employment: Good for Business, Good for Development— draws on private sector experiences and encourages business to tap and manage female talent in emerging and developing markets. The case studies provide examples of how leading companies have benefited by investing in policies that support women employees. This publication may also help companies better understand the business case for supporting women’s employment, and provide insight into the approaches that work best.