Financial and economic empowerment is one of the key factors in keeping the gender balance…well…out of balance. A 2020 World Economic Forum (WEF) report suggests that, if we keep at our current pace of correcting this imbalance, it will be another 100 years until women receive equal pay for equal work.
This isn’t necessarily an issue that’s divided between high-income and low-income countries, either. While that same WEF report ranks Burundi and Austria at approximately the same level of progress to closing their overall gender gap, Burundi is actually ahead of Austria in closing the gender wage gap by nearly 30 percentage points. Rwanda, which is one of the top 10 countries making progress towards closing the gender gap, still has work to do on closing the pay gap, and outranks the United States in both overall and wage gap-specific progress.
Ensuring that women not only earn the same salaries as their male counterparts but also get the same access to economic independence boosts economies. It also means that other basic needs, like healthcare, education, and adequate food and water, are more likely to be available for the whole family.