India has one of the largest opportunities in the world to boost GDP by increasing women’s participation in the labour force, which presently stands at “only 25 per cent”, a report by McKinsey World Institute said.
The contribution of women to India’s GDP is 18 per cent, one of the lowest proportions in the world, said the report, ‘The Power of Parity: Advancing Women’s Equality in Asia Pacific’, released in the city today by McKinsey at a Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry event.
“More than 70 per cent of the potential GDP opportunity comes from increasing women’s participation in the labour force by 10 percentage points,” it said.
The report said India is “somewhat” ahead of close neighbours Bangladesh and Pakistan on the path to gender parity, but lags behind the Asia Pacific average on gender equality in both work and society.
“However, India has already progressed faster than any other Asia Pacific country over the past 10 years, largely due to advances in education and a reduction in maternal mortality (although from a lower base than many other countries in the region),” it noted.
The McKinsey report further said India has a “considerable way” to travel to match the best performance in the region on female-to-male labour-force participation rate, maternal mortality, financial and digital inclusion, sex ratio at birth, and violence against women.
McKinsey partner, Namrata Dubashi, who was present at the event, said, “McKinsey’s research says that Asia Pacific is arguably the most dynamic region in the world but women, in many countries, face vastly unequal treatment at work and in society – compared with men.”
Some of the biggest gender gaps are in India, where concerns have been raised previously about the economic damage from the lack of women in workforce, she added.