IMF’s Lagarde announces specific actions on women’s economic empowerment

Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, issued the following statement today at the conclusion of her participation in a United Nations High-Level Panel on “Women Economic Empowerment” on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly:

“It is a great pleasure to participate in the official launch of the commitments and work of the UN High-Level Panel on Women Economic Empowerment. I am heartened that the world is working together to promote greater female participation in the workforce. The IMF will continue to work with its member countries to ensure that women play a larger role in the economy in order to boost growth, reduce income inequality, and support economic diversification.

“During the discussion, I had the privilege of announcing five specific actions by the IMF toward closing the gender gap.

These are our five commitments, and we promise to deliver:

1. We pledge to further strengthen our policy advice and analysis to support female labor force participation.

2. We promise to continue our work to address gender data gaps, with the aim of supporting the financial inclusion of women.

3. We commit to push forward our work on gender budgeting, including through policy advice to member countries.

4. We will build on recent research with the objective of helping to break down the discriminatory effects of legal restrictions.

5. We commit to undertake further research on the links between gender inequality and growth, and the impact of policies on gender inequality.”

Despite significant progress in recent decades, labor markets across the world remain divided along gender lines.

Female labor force participation has remained lower than male participation, gender wage gaps are high, and women are overrepresented in the informal sector and among the poor. In many countries, legal restrictions persist which constrain women from developing their full economic potential.

While equality between men and women is in itself an important development goal, women’s economic participation is also a part of the growth and stability equation. In rapidly aging economies, higher female labor force participation can boost growth by mitigating the impact of a shrinking workforce. Better opportunities for women can also contribute to broader economic development in developing economies, for instance through higher levels of school enrollment for girls.

More information on IMF’s work on gender issues can be found here (Press Release)