Why supporting women sets a path towards economic growth

Why supporting women sets a path towards economic growth

When more women lead, it's better for everyone. Research shows that communities thrive and grow when women are able to advance in their careers, earn fair wages and run their own businesses.

In countries like Norway, where women get hired, paid and promoted closer to the same rate as men, it's better for women and their families ­– but it's also better for the whole economy. "The more that women who are educated can push their potential in the workplace, the more we can increase the number of paychecks and get the economy going," Andres Tapia, global diversity and inclusion strategist at management consulting firm Korn Ferry, said in 2019. "When people have more to spend, everyone benefits."

If we had greater gender equality in the workplace, global annual GDP could grow an extra $38 trillion by 2025, according to management consulting firm McKinsey & Company. Here in Canada alone, that could mean an added $150 billion to our national GDP by 2026.

Better for business

When more women lead, it's better for companies, too. Globally, gender-diverse companies are 15 percent more likely to earn more than their competitors, according to McKinsey. "When women and men work together, studies show that they actually come up with better solutions, which is the basic premise of diversity in the workplace," Tapia said. McKinsey also reports that companies with three or more women in senior management score higher in all dimensions of organizational performance. There's also evidence that women leaders develop more innovative approaches to mentoring, which is essential to helping employees stay engaged and get ahead.

Still work ahead

While Canada is among the global leaders in the push to gender equality, women in Canada still only earn about 70 percent of what men do, on average. Likewise, women in corporate Canada are still less likely than men to be promoted to the next level at almost every stage of their careers.

Although 53 percent of degree holders here are female, women are a minority of corporate leaders. For instance, only 21.3 percent of corporate directors in Canada are women, which is higher than in the United States, UK, France, Germany or Japan.

Globally, only 37 out CEOs of Fortune 500 companies are women, up from 15 in 2010. Things have been getting better, but there's still work to do. Because so many have lost jobs and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, there's a risk that the progress we've seen so far could stop. 
At University Canada West, we want to play our part in making sure that we all keep moving forward.

Women in Leadership MBA Award

We know women make a difference, and we want to help. That's why we've created the Women in Leadership MBA Award.
This MBA scholarship will be awarded to women with exceptional potential for success as leaders.

It's open to Canadian citizens and permanent residents who have shown the ability to lead through work experience, volunteering or community involvement.The application deadline for this award for the Summer 2020 term is June 12.


  1. The power of parity: Advancing women's equality in Canada (McKinsey & Company)
  2. How gender equality is a growth engine for the global economy (NBC News)
  3. Why the world needs more women CEOs (The Conversation)
  4. Gender, diversity and inclusion statistics (Statistics Canada)