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.
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
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.