New research published by Chwarae Teg today, reveals that full gender equality could boost the Welsh economy by almost £14billion. The research commissioned by the gender equality charity shows that if men and women had the same employment rates, working hours and productivity it could result in an additional £13.6 billion for the Welsh economy by 2028.
£9.2billion of this would come from the increase in average hours worked by women. The remaining £4.4billion would be due to the rise in the female employment rate and participation in high productivity sectors. This is significant when compared to the fact that the entire Welsh Government 2019-20 budget is set to be £15.8 billion
Chwarae Teg has published the research as part of its annual State of the Nation report which looks at key indicators to measure Wales’s progress towards gender equality. The report paints a stark picture of the work still required to achieve equality. Women are nearly 10% more likely to be economically inactive and almost 4 times as likely to attribute this to looking after children or the home than men. The gender pay gap also persists, reaching 25% in some areas of Wales.
While women are relatively well represented in the National Assembly, the picture in local councils is far worse; at current rates it will be 2073 before we reach gender balance among our councillors. Similarly, in business, women are not reaching top roles accounting for just 6% of the chief executives of the top 100 businesses in Wales.
And women remain at greater risk of poverty, social isolation and violence. Almost half of single parent households are living in poverty, 90% of which are women, and 52% of women aged 13-21 report having been sexually harassed in the street.
Cerys Furlong, Chief Executive at Chwarae Teg, said:
“This research demonstrates that gender equality isn’t just a nice to have – it’s an economic must have for Wales. With a potential gain of almost £14 billion, it’s clear that Wales cannot afford to ignore gender equality. The fact that all four scenarios we looked at in the report resulted in considerable boosts to the Welsh economy demonstrates the huge potential that is currently not being realised, as a result of inequalities.
“If we, as a nation, are to make the most of these huge potential economic gains we need to make sure that women are able to fully access the labour market and that existing barriers are removed, through measures such as affordable and effective childcare provision, and flexible working at all levels, across all sectors. Women’s skills and potential are often underutilised and moves must continue to ensure that women can access and progress in fair work with decent pay.”
Read the full report here.