MDB Insight Blog

The Importance of Gender Parity in Economic Development

A decade ago, Norway instituted a policy that all publicly traded companies must have at least 40% female board members. On January 1, 2018, Iceland made it illegal for women to earn less than men for the same employment. Iceland was the first country to legislate pay equity standards for all companies with more than 25 employees.

Canada does not yet have the same legislated gender parity as some nations in Europe; plus, its’ economy is currently up against the human capital powerhouses of India and China. “We can’t compete if we exclude 50% of the population,” says the CEO of the Ontario Securities Commission.

Recent data shows that 21.7% of Canadian women are absent from the workforce, due to family or personal responsibilities. For men, only 9.3% are absent from the workplace for the same reasons.

In order to compete globally and engage more of Canada’s human capital, the data indicates there’s a need to alleviate the burden of care that traditionally falls on women.

Gender Parity Benefits Your Local Community

Instead of waiting for regulations to be put in place mandating gender parity by the federal government, you have the power to create an environment that fosters it in your community. It may seem like an overwhelming task, but it’s one that will increase opportunities for local residents, and it’s better for the local and national economy and economic growth.

Examples of different initiatives that can encourage more of the 21.7% of women currently absent from the workforce to return include:

  • Creating mentorship opportunities for young/new women-led businesses
  • Instituting flexible working hours/locations for new parents (benefitting women and men)
  • Creating on-the-job affordable daycare options
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Pay inequality is exacerbated by gender inequality in the labour market. So creating an environment that is more conducive to gender parity will also contribute towards pay equality. This is not only fair, but also good for the economy, as more members of the community are paid well.

Tools to Better Serve Women in Business

To get even more specific about what your community’s women-led businesses require, conduct a BR+E study, using Triage BR+ETM. Because this tool delivers real-time data about the businesses in your community, you can get a handle on exactly which of the above suggestions will be beneficial to your community, and which businesses are at risk right now so you can prioritize and predict how to assist businesses in the future.

Use a Surefire BR+E Initiative:

Download this infographic to identify the gaps in your community, and enact lasting change in your local economy.

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References:

https://www.economist.com/business/2018/02/17/ten-years-on-from-norways-quota-for-women-on-corporate-boards

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/20/iceland-equal-pay-law-gender-gap-women-jobs-equality

http://economicdevelopment.org/2018/03/the-higher-ed-blog-women-in-economic-development/

https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/89-503-x/2015001/article/14694/tbl/tbl04-eng.htm

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