People and their talents are two of the core drivers of sustainable, long-term economic growth. If half of these talents are underdeveloped or underutilised, the economy will never grow as it could. Multiple studies have shown that healthy and educated women are more likely to have healthier and more educated children, creating a positive, virtuous cycle for the broader population. Research also shows the benefits of gender equality in politics: when women are more involved in decision-making, they make different decisions—not necessarily better or worse—but decisions that reflect the needs of more members of society.

Some of the most compelling findings regarding the benefits of gender equality are emerging from companies. For example, companies that include more women at the top levels of leadership tend to outperform those that don’t. With a growing female talent pool coming out of schools and universities, and with more consumer power in the hands of women, companies who fail to recruit and retain women—and ensure they have a pathway to leadership positions—undermine their long-term competitiveness. And for those that do, the benefits of diversity are evident.

But these benefits go beyond the economic case. There is another simple and powerful reason why more women should be empowered: fairness. Women represent one half of the global population—they deserve equal access to health, education, influence, earning power and political representation. Their views and values are critical for ensuring a more prosperous and inclusive common future. Humanity’s collective progress depends on it.

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Is complete gender equality achievable? How do you think companies can help to close the gender gap?  Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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