In 2015, the 193 member countries of the United Nations came together to commit to 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Goal 5 focused on gender equality and set the ambitious target of achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls everywhere by 2030. Five years later, large gender gaps remain across the world, and the early evidence suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a regressive effect on gender equality.
How can we ensure that the role of women in the workplace and in society is central to efforts to rebuild economies in the COVID-19 era, and that women do not fall further behind? As world leaders at the UN General Assembly assess progress, look ahead to recovery, and commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women and the Beijing declaration, we offer our perspectives on the ten things everyone should know about gender equality.
Gender inequality is not only a pressing moral and social issue but also a critical economic challenge. A 2015 report from the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), The Power of Parity: How advancing women’s equality can add $12 trillion to global growth, explored the economic potential available if the global gender gap was narrowed. Five years ago, women generated 37 percent of global GDP despite accounting for 50 percent of the global working-age population. The research found that in a best-in-region scenario in which all countries match the performance of the country in their region that has made the most progress toward gender equality, $12 trillion a year could be added to GDP in 2025. That would be equivalent in size to the GDP of Japan, Germany, and the United Kingdom combined, and roughly double the likely growth in global GDP contributed by female workers between 2014 and 2025 in a business-as-usual scenario. Both advanced and developing economies would stand to gain considerably; all regions could achieve at least 8 percent in incremental GDP over business-as-usual levels. In a full-potential scenario in which women match men’s participation in the workforce, their sector mix, and their full-time mix of jobs, the additional GDP opportunity could be $28 trillion, or an additional 26 percent of annual global GDP in 2025. That would be roughly equivalent to the GDP of the United States and China. As we note in item number 6, the COVID-19 pandemic has added new urgency—and new risks—to achieving the economic benefits of gender parity. We have updated our calculations accordingly.
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This article is part of our series on aged care. You can read the other articles in the series here.
Australia’s aged care sector has been the subject of more than 30 major inquiries and reviews since 1997.
It is fair to say the findings have been highly critical of the way aged care is run in this country. Many of these concerns have been brought to light again — along with new issues raised — in the ongoing Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.
Yet, as the royal commission has noted, successive Australian governments have shown a “lack of willingness to commit to change”.
Responses often come years after the review and recount what has been done in an almost tangential way.
Even the establishment of the royal commission was not based on previous inquiries or recommendations, but in response to media exposes of the appalling conditions in some aged care facilities.
Read more: Aged care failures show how little we value older people – and those who care for them
From these dysfunctional circumstances, three questions arise.