In the U.S., while women helped propel the worlds largest economy out of the last recession, this time around they are falling behind — something that economists have dubbed the countrys first female recession.

Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Global economic growth could get a $20 trillion boost if women are educated at the same levels as men and hold the same number of jobs, according to a new study.

Policy changes that result in more women entering the workforce, like those that bolster female access to secondary education, child care, and flexible work arrangements, have the potential to light a fire, under global growth over the next three decades, according to an analysis

published this week by Bloomberg economists Adriana Dupita, Abhishek Gupta and Tom Orlik. The report examines 36 developed and emerging economies.

Empower Women, Boost Growth

Ending gender inequality would help lift global GDP by 2050*

Source: Bloomberg Economics

Note: *National convergence assumes that 25-64 year old female labor-force participation and schooling will converge to that of male counterparts within each country by 2050. Graphic shows GDP relative to baseline of persistent inequality

The study is the latest evidence underscoring that closing labor-market gender gaps is crucial for the economy as it recovers from the pandemic — and beyond. Globally, 58.4% of women between the ages of 25 to 64 work, compared with 92.1% of men, the study found. In the U.S., while women

helped propel the worlds largest economy out of the last recession, this time around they are falling behind — something that economists have dubbed the countrys first female recession.

A surge of women in the U.S. have left the workforce this past year amid services-industry setbacks and to care for children whose school or day care closed during the pandemic. Some 1.4 million

mothers remained out of the workforce in January, according to the Census Bureau. At the same time, Februarys job report showed that participation among prime-aged women improved slightly, though still remained worse than pre-pandemic levels.

India had the lowest female participation rate among countries analyzed in the report, at 16.6%. Closing the gap between men and women could add more than 30% to the countrys gross domestic product by 2050.

Just as important, countries need to think and redesign their economies to make sure the economy will be able to welcome the additional labor force with productive jobs, said Bloomberg economist Dupita. In many countries, barriers to womens education and employment are deeply entrenched.

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