Report: A woman’s place: boosting female labour force participation to lift long-term economic growth

A Woman’s Place is a research series from the Aberdeen Standard Research Institute which focuses on the often overlooked ‘S’ of ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance). The report considers what drives differences in female participation in the workforce and highlights why diversity and inclusion (D&I) policy really matters to investors.

There is an ethical argument for greater workforce equality, however there is an efficiency argument too. Increasing D&I in the workforce can lift incomes and growth by making better use of human capital. A stronger D&I corporate and government policy agenda could provide a boost for the global economy.

Key findings

  • Ensure that men have access to paternity leave: do more to incentivise men to take that leave so that the burden of child-related career breaks is more evenly shared.
  • Reform taxation systems: reduce tax wedges for second earners and sole parents to address the unfair care/work trade-off that women face.
  • Consider both the quantity and quality of female work: part-time work and flexible short-term employment is important for women to stay connected with the workforce.
  • Strengthen the performance and resilience of the overall economy: reduce cyclicality of potential growth and strengthen labour markets to facilitate greater overall participation.
  • Report more and higher quality data: encourage firms to release this information so that we can monitor what companies are doing and understand what really works in terms of improving D&I within firms.

The report hoped to cover race, socioeconomic background and sexual orientation at both the macro and micro level. However, the research uncovered how limited the available data is regarding inequalities at a company and country level.