Women’s Economic Power

As women’s economic power increases, women can shape more inclusive systems, whether it’s within their own household or at the macroeconomic level. The impact of these benefits is enormous.

Starting that ripple effect requires work from a variety of stakeholders: communities, religious institutions, private sectors, financial and economic decision makers, and government ministries. We all have a role to play in knocking down those barriers and helping women to claim their full economic power.

Read Melinda French Gates’ op-ed on how leaders can boost women’s economic power

Illuminating opportunities: Data on untapped potential

Estimated GDP increase by adding more women to the workforce

(2022, Closing the Gender Gap in the Workforce, Council on Foreign Relations)
Pay gap
Global pay gap faced by women compared to men across the health and care sector

(2022, The Gender Gap in Pay, World Health Organization)  
Estimated amount of unmet demand for credit among women (in USD)

(2022, How to measure female entrepreneurship?, The World Bank)
Digital payments
Number of unbanked women in developing countries receiving government transfers in cash

(2019, Banking on the future of women, IMF)
Amount of capital investment received by male-owned enterprises in Africa compared to female-owned enterprises

(2019, Profiting from Parity, The World Bank)  
Child care
Possible jobs generated by investing in universal child care and long-term services

(2022, Care at work, ILO)  
Policy and law
Number of countries where women cannot legally do the same jobs as men

(2022, Nearly 2.4 Billion Women Globally, The World Bank)  
Investment from our foundation in 2016 to help fill some of these critical gender data gaps

More on women’s financial inclusion

Digital Banking in India Through a Postmaster’s Lens

A story of digital banking in India—and a young woman’s promising career path

Digital banking lets millions of people safely receive, send, and save money without the need for cash. One young woman in India explains how this is helping her community.
Woman looking at mobile phone

Banking on the future of women

Poverty is not a single fact or condition, but rather a collection of them: a lack of financial assets, a lack of access to property, and a lack of voice in one's community.
By Sarah Hendriks Director, Programme, Policy and Intergovernmental Division, UN Women
Sweety, an assistant quality checker at a garment factory, learned how to use an ATM and track income and expenses with HERproject.

Global Findex 2021: How digital wages empower Bangladeshi women

The Bangladeshi government’s quick action to pay garment workers digitally during the pandemic led to enormous dividends for women workers—and demonstrated the power of financial inclusion to improve women’s lives.
By Snigdha Ali Program Officer, Financial Services for the Poor, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

More on child care

 Jashodaben conducts various activity modules with children  based on teacher training programs that she frequently attends in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India.

Investing in child care: good for families, good for children, good for economies

Investing in child care means more income for families, better outcomes for children, and more inclusive economic growth.
By Yamini Atmavilas Senior Program Officer, Gender Equality, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Woman working in front of laptop from home, with child on her lap.

Governments build roads and bridges. Why is another essential piece of infrastructure, child care, built on women’s unpaid labor?

The pandemic has been devastating to women’s employment. Unless governments and the private sector start to think of child care as essential infrastructure, post-pandemic recovery plans will falter.
By Anita Zaidi President, Gender Equality Division, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Mother holding her infant son.

Women on philanthropy’s front lines: A conversation with Melanie Brown and Elizabeth Barajas-Román

Women’s funds have long been on the front lines of addressing persistent societal injustices. They need our support to address the harms suffered by women during the COVID-19 pandemic—from lost jobs to domestic violence.
By Melanie Brown and Elizabeth Barajas-Román

More on women’s economic power

Binta Diao, Eden Gatesi, Dr. Marie-Angelique Sene, Yaye Souadou Fall, and Dr. Shivon Byamukama

Melinda French Gates highlights five women inspiring change in their communities in Rwanda and Senegal

The global advocate for women and girls shares the stories of some extraordinary women whose vision and ingenuity are creating new possibilities for their countries and industries.
By Melinda French Gates Co-chair, Board Member, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Yaye Souadou Fall, co-founder of E-cover, in the E-cover factory in Dakar, Senegal. Yaye created 100 jobs after getting a loan to expand her business.

Want to grow your economy? Focus on women.

Two recent graduates in Senegal had a great idea for a business. Because they were women, banks and investors kept saying “no.”
By Sybil Chidiac Senior Program Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Anita Zaidi holding child in Pakistan

Poverty is sexist: A Q&A with new Gender Equality Division President Anita Zaidi

New Gender Equality Division President Anita Zaidi discusses the newly created division and what it means for the foundation.
By Anita Zaidi President, Gender Equality Division, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation