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Empowering Women at Work

Investing in Women: the Overlooked Solution to Today’s Challenges

un-peace-women's participation
un-peace-women's participation

Empowering women and girls can help tackle global crises. Investing in education, fair wages, and women’s participation in peace processes can unlock potential and create economic prosperity.

Jemimah Njuki 

Chief, Economic Empowerment Section, UN Women

The Ukraine, Sudan, Gaza-Israel, and Haiti crises, plus the changing climate, economic stress, food insecurity, and more seem insurmountable, surpassing our ability to cope. Despite the diverse natures of each crisis, they share a crucial common thread: the potential for improvement through empowering women and girls — a positive narrative often overlooked. 

Benefits of empowering women 

Peace processes that include women negotiators are more equitable and long-lasting. Prioritizing 

education, family planning, and fair wages could lift over 100 million women and girls out of poverty. Expanding paid care services could create almost 300 million decent-paying jobs by 2035, fairly compensating women and girls while boosting economies. 

High returns in gender equality investment 

Investing in women yields significant returns. Yet, we continue to spurn it. It is even more frustrating that we do so when the amount required is comparatively small. UN Women and our partners have worked out the price tag. 

It would cost a mere $360 million per year for developing countries alone to achieve gender equality by 2030. That is a fraction of the $2.24 trillion spent each year on the world’s militaries. It surely offers a far greater value and benefits us all. 

Global benefit in making the right investment 

It has become cliche to point out that seeking equality for women and girls is not only the right thing to do but also the smart thing. However, it is true. This highlights our foolishness in neglecting it, especially when we’re urgently seeking solutions. That foolishness becomes increasingly costly in times of need. 

This year, some 2.6 billion people will have the power to vote in over 60 countries around the world. What will they demand in exchange for their vote? Will they expect the candidates for office in their countries to commit to investing in women and girls? Or will they waste an unparalleled opportunity for change that benefits us all? We must collectively join our voices in a call for equality that cannot be ignored. Change is not beyond us. We have a solution in front of us; let us seize it. 

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