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New IFC Report Highlights Business Benefits of Investing in Women’s Employment

In Washington, D.C.:
Emmanouela (Emmy) Markoglou
Phone: +1 202 473 9526

Washington, D.C., October 12, 2013—Investing in women’s employment and improved working conditions can bring dramatic benefits to both women and businesses, according to a new report released today by IFC, a member of the World Bank Group.

The report,
Investing in Women´s Employment: Good for Business, Good for Development, was produced by WINvest, a World Bank Group partnership with the private sector for promoting women’s employment that includes companies from diverse regions and sectors. Released at the 2013 World Bank Group/IMF Annual Meetings in Washington, D.C., the report outlines how investing in women’s employment has led to enhanced productivity, improved staff retention, and increased access to talent.

It presents specific examples of how initiatives tailored to women—such as training, childcare support, health services, and alternative work arrangements—can enhance business performance while improving working conditions for women and men. For instance, at Nalt Enterprise, a Vietnamese garment factory, staff turnover fell by one third after the company established a kindergarten for workers’ children. Better jobs for women lead to higher income levels and greater decision-making influence. That has broader societal effects, increasing household spending on children’s nutrition, health and education.

“We already see the value being delivered by the women currently employed with us—from traditional roles to Technical Services in our underground mines to electricians to truck drivers—and we want to do more to strengthen this gender balance,” said Seamus French, CEO of Anglo American Metallurgical Coal business, a WINvest member company.

The report fills a critical knowledge gap by offering case studies from emerging markets showing that investing in women’s employment can yield benefits not only for companies operating in male-dominated industries such as mining and construction but also in female-dominated sectors like garments manufacturing and agribusiness. Going forward, WINvest will focus on creating new products and tools to help companies realize the benefits of being more inclusive of women employees.

“Women’s participation is critical for meeting the growing need for skilled labor in emerging markets,” said Atul Mehta, IFC Global Director for Manufacturing, Agribusiness, and Services. “This report can help companies realize the business gains of recruiting from a broader pool of talent, how to retain women, and how to help them maximize their contributions.”

Women workers constitute 40 percent of the world’s workforce. Yet more than half are engaged in the informal economy, without the benefits and security of salaried or wage work. Empowering women to participate in full and productive employment is essential to expanding economic growth and strengthening companies and communities.

About IFC

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. Working with private enterprises in more than 100 countries, we use our capital, expertise, and influence to help eliminate extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity. In FY13, our investments climbed to an all-time high of nearly $25 billion, leveraging the power of the private sector to create jobs and tackle the world’s most pressing development challenges. For more information, visit

About WINvest

(‘Investing in Women’) is the World Bank Group’s global partnership initiative with the private sector on women's employment.  With a Secretariat housed in IFC, this initiative brings together IFC clients and private sector partners with a vested interest in substantiating the business case for improving working conditions and employment opportunities for women, investigating where and when investments in improved working conditions for women can result in higher firm productivity. WINvest was launched at the 2012 IMF/World Bank Group Annual Meetings in Tokyo.

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