A recent issue of the Harvard Business Review notes how the US could boost its GDP $2.1 trillion over the next eight years by simply closing the gender pay gap (US women earn 79 cents for every dollar a man earns), shifting more women from part time to full time employment and empowering more women to enter the managerial and executive sector (Women make up just 14.2% of US executives). And it’s not only the US that could benefit from closing gender pay and work gaps. Sadly, the latest studies indicate that gender-based work discrimination is so entrenched globally that it will take 118 years to close the gap.
These statistics are all a bit shocking and dismaying, however, beyond the financial implications, what do studies like these really reveal about a nation? Are nations with more equitable gender pay gaps any more or less happy than those with larger pay gaps? Are they more or less productive?
The question got me thinking, so I looked up a few studies to directly cross compare how a nation’s gender pay gap relates to its overall happiness rating, and the results confirm what you’re probably thinking. The higher the gender pay gap, the less productive, less healthy, less generous and less happy a nation tends to be. Take a look the two charts below and note how many of the top 20 happiest nations in the world rank also have the lowest gender pay gap—12 out of 20!
At CultureWizard we understand (and we teach) how cultural shifts within a nation tend to work on a decade to generational scale, in that it takes between 10 to 25 years for any culture to experience a significant shift in their worldview—and even that can be considered rapid change from a cultural perspective. But statistics rarely lie, and the truth is, in today’s global workplace, in order for a nation to be productive, competitive and, most importantly, happy, its women need to be equally paid and respected.
We would love to hear your thoughts on the issue. Do you feel that gender equality and happiness go hand in hand? Do companies and countries perform best when their women and equally paid and respected?
And while you’re at it, check at out this amazing gender equality scale to see where your nation falls.
Learn more about women in the global workplace by clicking below for our International Women's Day webinar.