What if eliminating the gender gap at work was not just a matter of fairness? What if it was good for business and good for the economy?

A new report by the McKinsey Global Institute, “The Power of Parity: Advancing Women’s Equality in the United States,” says that gender parity in the United States could add up to $4.3 trillion a year to the Gross Domestic Product by 2025.

The study, released Thursday, follows up a report published last September in which McKinsey found that “$12 trillion could be added to global GDP by 2025 by advancing women’s equality.”

McKinsey said Thursday that “every U.S. state and city can add at least 5 percent to their GDP in that period by advancing the economic potential of women. Half of U.S. states have the potential to add more than 10 percent, and the country’s 50 largest cities can increase GDP by 6 to 13 percent.”

While the barriers hindering women from fully participating in the labor market make it unlikely that they will attain full gender equality within a decade, the report finds that in a best-in-class scenario—in which each U.S. state matches the state with the fastest rate of improvement toward gender parity in work over the past decade—some $2.1 trillion of incremental GDP could be added in 2025. That is 10 percent higher than in a business-as-usual scenario.

Writing on Time magazine’s website, two of the study’s authors, Kweilin Ellingrud and Vivian Riefberg, said:

So how can gender parity become a reality in the U.S.? Businesses can promote gender diversity in recruitment, performance evaluation and by introducing flexible work arrangements. Governments can consider ways to make paid parental leave and improved child care a reality for more men and women, and can introduce state- and city-level programs to reduce single mothers living in poverty. More cross-sector collaboration between governments, businesses and non-profits is needed. Change is often gradual, but given the size of the gender parity prize, closing the gap in work and society is well worth the effort.

We applaud McKinsey for taking on this important work. There is always more momentum for societal change when it can be shown that it improves the bottom line.

RELATED: New Study Adds Piece to Gender-Pay-Gap Puzzle


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