(181009) -- BALI, Oct. 9, 2018 (Xinhua) -- Guests attend the seminar entitled "Empowering Women in the Workplace" during the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank in Bali, Indonesia, on Oct. 9, 2018. (Xinhua/Veri Sanovri) (dtf)
(181009) -- BALI, Oct. 9, 2018 (Xinhua) -- Guests attend the seminar entitled "Empowering Women in the Workplace" during the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank in Bali, Indonesia, on Oct. 9, 2018. (Xinhua/Veri Sanovri) (dtf)
Managing Director of International Monetary Fund (IMF) Christine Lagarde talks during Empowering Women in the Workplace panel discussion in Bali, Indonesia Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati)
Managing Director of International Monetary Fund (IMF) Christine Lagarde talks during Empowering Women in the Workplace panel discussion in Bali, Indonesia Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati)
Managing Director of International Monetary Fund (IMF) Christine Lagarde, left, as she listens to Indonesia's Finance Minister Sri Mulyani during Empowering Women in the Workplace seminar at International Monetary Fund-World Bank meeting in Bali, Indonesia Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati)
Managing Director of International Monetary Fund (IMF) Christine Lagarde, left, as she listens to Indonesia's Finance Minister Sri Mulyani during Empowering Women in the Workplace seminar at International Monetary Fund-World Bank meeting in Bali, Indonesia Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati)

JOHANNESBURG – New research presented at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) / World Bank annual meeting in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia shows that empowering women in the workplace boost the economy more than adding another man to the workplace as females bring a different skill set to the workplace.

An all-female panel was discussing “Empowering Women in the Workplace” as part of the annual meetings, as these meetings are an important means of disseminating new information because the meeting in Bali has 34 000 participants.

The panel consisted of Christine Lagarde, the Managing Director of the IMF, Priyanthi Fernando, Executive Director, International Women’s Rights Action Watch, Asia Pacific, Sri Mulyani Indrawati, the Minister of Finance, Indonesia, Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary,  United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and Carolyn Wilkins, Senior Deputy Governor, Bank of Canada.

“If you increase access to electricity, you increase the hiring of women by 9 percent", Songwe noted as the report said many factors play a role in empowering women and access to power and their own bank accounts being crucial enablers.

Indrawati emphasized that girls need to have the right role models and mentors so they can  really be the ones leading the way.

“The win by Naomi Osaka of the US Open has seen an upsurge in tennis interest among girls  in Japan, as they now have a role model to which they can aspire,” she said.

The IMF report showed that although female labour force participation (FLFP) has improved in  the past 20 years, the pace has been uneven, and large gaps remain. 

FLFP was 54 percent  for the  median of Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries in 2014,  but this was below the 68% participation by males. 

However the media for middle-income  countries such as South Africa, FLFP was only 49 percent  compared with 75 percent  for males.

The paper further found that male and females are complementary in production. The  results also imply that standard labour absorption models, which do not differentiate between  genders in their analysis, understate the favourable impact of gender inclusion on growth, and  misattribute to technology a part of the growth that is actually caused by women’s participation.

The suggests that narrowing gender gaps results in a win-win situation as empowering more  women in the workplace benefits both men and women, because of a boost to male wages from  the higher FLFP.

These mechanisms imply that reducing female underemployment should yield greater gains than an equivalent increase in male employment as gender diversity brings benefits all of its  own.

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE