The economic costs of gender inequality


Gender equality is not only desirable from an ethical and societal point of view, it also has a strong economic rationale. The CEPS-Intereconomics conference “Inefficient Inequality: The economic costs of gender inequality in Europe” on November 3rd illustrated this thesis quite clearly. The gap between genders in terms of remuneration, access to executive positions, education and overall labour force participation has been widely documented. While there are substantial differences in terms of gender equality within the EU, no country is close to making full use this untapped potential. Various discussants illustrated how much European economies actually lose in monetary terms due to gender inequality: it is thought to be close to a staggering €350bn each year. If measures were taken to (gradually) close this gap, GDP per capita could increase by up to 10% by 2050. The benefits are likely to be even greater if one accounts for gains in diversification and innovative capacity. The panellists’ findings will be published as articles in the upcoming Intereconomics issue.