So what if you are a world economy hungry for economic growth and you noticed a vastly underutilized resource, would you actively engage it to boost your economy?
Unfortunately in this case, the answer is not a unanimous Yes!!
But a conditional ‘it depends’ ….
As dictated by prevailing social norms
Christine Legarde, Director of the IMF highlights the advantages of the ‘yes’ approach. In a recent White House panel, Lagarde stressed that by simply integrating the 50% of women worldwide who are currently not working in the formal sector, a country could increase its GDP by 7% – 27%.
Of course an important component of economic growth for innovative economies includes fostering high potential female entrepreneurship development.
In Japan, the estimated increase to GDP by increasing female labor force participation is 9%. Japan is ready for change. After enduring a painful economic downturn, the Japanese government has embraced Abenomics– policies which include reviving the Japanese economy by removing gendered barriers in the labor force and making employment a more viable option for women.
However, we have all heard promises like this before, very good intentions that are later abandoned when they prove more difficult to implement then originally planned…
Afterwards, I spoke to Lagarde about the situation in Japan, and she remarked:
I am going to hold the Japanese accountable
The key difference this time around? Promises have been made to the Director of arguably the most influential international financial institutional in the world.
Once Japan sets the example, other countries will find it easier to follow.