A Study by World Bank Group released on early this month has revealed that globally the loss in human capital wealth due to gender inequality is estimated at $160.2 trillion countries while In Sub-Saharan Africa, the losses are estimated at $2.5 trillion.
The study included about 141 countries in the analysis.
On a per capita basis, gender inequality in earnings could lead to losses in wealth of $23,620 per person globally in the 141 countries studied by the World Bank Group, the released report shows.
The study was dubbed “Unrealized Potential: The High Cost of Gender Inequality in Earnings, examines the economic cost of gender inequality in lost human capital”.
“The world is essentially leaving $160 trillion on the table when we neglect inequality in earnings over the lifetime between men and women. This is a stark reminder that world leaders need to act now and act decisively to invest in policies that promote more and better jobs for women and equal pay at work,”” said World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva.
The largest losses each between $40 trillion and $50 trillion are observed in East Asia and the Pacific, North America, Europe and Central Asia.
This is because these regions account for most of the world’s human capital wealth.
The report shows that losses in other regions are also substantial where In South Asia, losses from gender inequality are estimated at $9.1 trillion, while they are estimated at $6.7 trillion in Latin America and the Caribbean and $3.1 trillion in the Middle East and North Africa.
In nearly every country today, it shows, women face barriers to fully participate in the work force making them to earn less.
Globally, women account for only 38 per cent of human capital wealth versus 62 per cent for men.
In low income and lower-middle income countries, the report shows, women account for just a third or less of human capital wealth.
Programs and policies that make it easier for women to get to work, access basic infrastructure and financial services, and control land could help achieve gender equality in earnings, the report recommends.
“Human capital wealth accounts for two thirds of the global changing wealth of nations, well ahead of natural and other forms of capital,” said World Bank Group lead Economist and author of the report Quentin Wodon.
Rwanda lauded for strengthening women’s land rights
The study shows that especially in low income countries, women’s employment is informal, with self-employment being the most common type of work, and a large share of women still work in the agricultural sector.
Women’s tenure insecurity reduces their investments in their land, thus undermining their productivity.
It says for female farmers, access to, and control over good quality land are especially critical for agricultural investment and rural household welfare.
‘Strengthening women’s land rights is key to addressing the issues undermining their productivity. For example, Rwanda is making joint ownership the default option in its land titling program, which is associated with greater productivity,” the report reads in part.