x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

The West leads the way in workplace empowerment

Working women have the greatest opportunities for success in Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany and Norway, research by Booz and Co shows.

Working women have the greatest opportunities for success in Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany and Norway, research by Booz and Co shows.

Its Empowering the Third Billion report ranks 128 countries based on how effectively governments are empowering women. The "third billion" refers to China and India, each representing 1 billion emerging participants in the global jobs marketplace, and the third billion is made up of women, in both developing and industrialised nations, who will enter the market in the coming decade.

The report finds a clear correlation between steps taken by governments to improve the lot of women and their success in the economy.

Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany and Norway are assessed to be those countries "on the path to success".

"Setting aside all external factors -such as access to health care, political participation and legal status -government leaders have levers they can pull to economically empower their female citizens and countries that do so are producing results," analysts wrote in the report.

Worryingly for the Arab world, several countries in the region are ranked at the other end of the index. Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE all come close to the point in the index labelled as "at the starting gate".

"These three countries face substantially different challenges at the macroeconomic level," says the report.

"Governments and companies in these countries and throughout the [Middle East and North Africa] region have a powerful opportunity to boost their own economic growth by opening new doors for women."

Raising female employment to the same level as males can help to boost economic growth, the report concludes. But greater female involvement in the workforce can have other benefits.

Working women are more likely than men to invest their household income in the education of their children.

"As those children grow up, their improved status becomes a positive social and economic factor in their society," says the report.

tarnold@thenational.ae