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More women in the labor market and in leadership positions bring economic growth

More women in the labor market and in leadership positions bring economic growth

The Women's Inclusion Network online event on March 17 focused in particular on the economic benefits of greater participation of women in the labor market. The results of the McKinsey's 2021 study, which has been positively received in several international forums, were presented by two young, educated ladies: Helena Šarkanová and Dagmar Melbø. “They are not just successful managers, but also mothers and wives, as many of us” they were introduced by VP Elena Petrašková. The study explored the potential of women in Central and Eastern Europe in comparison to other regions, where the Scandinavian countries can be considered as the top. Here are some of the findings:

  • By better use of women's potential, Slovakia's GDP could grow by 8.6% by the year 2030
  • The economic benefits would come not only from higher female employment, but also from more women in more productive sectors and better paid jobs
  • Although women make up 63% of all graduates with a university degree in Slovakia (men 37%), 47% of women (52% of men) are interested in career advancement and 25% of women (34% of men) would like to reach top managerial positions
  • When companies have at least 30% women in management, they perform 26% better than companies without women in the management
  • At the same time, a management style with more women is different, more open, more acceptable to employees and more future-oriented
  • Despite all the data, only 1% of women are CEOs of the largest companies in Slovakia and only 14% of women are in top management

So where are the barriers that prevent women from achieving career success at work, while at the same time society is missing out on the significant economic potential of women's work?

  • In our countries these are gender expectation and stereotypes when for example 63% of women carry out most of the household chores, which is ca 5 hours a day of unpaid work
  • The support of the public sector is not sufficient, we miss pre-school facilities and expenses for childcare in them are too high
  • We miss the support of employers who are not motivated to provide e.g., part time employment enabling women to better balance their work life and childcare
  • The Covid-19 pandemic has even widened inequalities in the job market due to higher rates of child and household care during lockdowns

Cover photo: left Helena Šarkanová, top Dagmar Melbø, and bottom Brigita Kurucová, who facilitated the event.

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