Unlocking the potential of women and girls results in significant positive impacts on business productivity and the bottom line, as well as for families and communities around the world.

The business and economic case for advancing gender equality is stronger than ever. Recent research indicating that achieving gender equality can add $12 trillion to the global economy and gender diversity at all levels of the organization leads to increased profitability, productivity, and organizational effectiveness. Governments, Civil Society, and the United Nations are increasingly looking to engage and partner with companies that have a commitment to advancing gender equality. Furthermore, investors are looking at a company’s performance on gender equality as an indicator for future growth.

Despite this opportunity, many social, economic, and legal barriers for women still exist; preventing them from entering the workforce, progressing in their careers and growing their businesses. Recent research suggests that at the current rate of change it will take over 100 years to achieve economic equality between men and women. Additionally, women continue to be subjected to discrimination, unconscious bias, and violence further impeding their opportunities to contribute to the formal labour force and sustainable growth.

All actors will need to make concerted efforts to accelerate the pace of change, but business—the engine for 90 per cent of jobs in developing countries, the source of technology innovators, capital creators and investors—has a tremendous opportunity to make positive impacts. Increasingly research is pointing to the positive bottom line impacts of investing in women to achieve their full potential, including: respecting and supporting women’s health which can reduce turnover and absentee rates, providing onsite childcare facilities to increase productivity, addressing legal and social barriers to unleash new market opportunities, and create specific professional development programmes for women to increase opportunities for innovation and differing perspectives at senior leadership levels.

The business case for specific policies and practices is integrated throughout the tool to assist you in your journey and to help you communicate to your colleagues how important this is to your company.