Restrictions on the participation of women in business and the labor market are holding back economies from the U.S. to Europe and Asia and are preventing a faster global recovery, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said.
Making it easier for women to enter the jobs market could increase gross domestic product by as much as 9 percent in the U.S. and 13 percent in the euro region, Clinton said at a conference in Lima today.
Women lack access to education and training, and as entrepreneurs they have more difficulty accessing markets for their products, while banks require credit histories they may not have, Clinton said. Laws and traditions restrict women’s economic participation in more than 100 countries, and cost the Asia-Pacific region $40 billion a year in lost GDP, she said.
“Restrictions on women’s economic participation are costing us massive amounts of economic growth and income in every region of the world,” Clinton said. Women’s participation “has to be key to all of our efforts for recovery.”
Women-owned businesses contribute almost $3 trillion to the U.S. economy, are expanding at more than double the rate of all companies and will generate more than 5 million jobs over the next six years should the trends continue, she said.