TACKLING the glass ceiling, equal pay for equal work. Just some of the women’s rights movement mantras advocating that gender equity and equality can generate a successful and productive workforce. The reality, however, is overt or hidden discriminatory practices, gender biased assumptions, and patriarchal ideologies persist and generally confine women into lower status jobs, with less pay, less opportunities for growth and less satisfaction from the work.

Often the debate between employers and employees is about cost benefit analysis and profit margins. But surely good business practice is also about investing in human capital which also means providing women with adequate access to healthcare, education and employment, you lose at least half of your potential? Pacific Community Gender Adviser, Brigitte Leduc, says there is growing availability of evidence that when more women work, economies grow.

“An increase in female labour force participation—or a reduction in the gap between women’s and men’s labour force participation—results in faster economic growth,” Leduc said. But don’t just take the word for gender equality and women’s rights advocates. In 2015 the McKinsey Global Institute published The power of parity: How advancing women’s equality can add $12 trillion to global growth which affirms that advancing gender equality in the world of work is closely tied to tackling gender gaps in society.

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