Zenefits: Reflecting on Women in Small Business Month

*This blog post is an excerpt from an article that I wrote for Zenefits. You can find the original here.

Gender inequality and the gender pay gap are not only moral and social issues, but they also present an economic challenge. Women account for half the world’s population of working-age adults, but they are not currently achieving their full economic potential. If this trend continues, the global economy could suffer.

In fact, according to a 2015 report by the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), advancing women’s economic parity can add $12 trillion in growth to the global economy by 2025. That’s an 11 percent increase. These results would come from what MGI calls a “best in region” scenario. That would mean every country in a particular region–say the Caribbean or Central America–would improve women’s economic parity with men to match the rate of the fastest improving country in their region.

And that “best in region” approach wouldn’t even require women in small business to reach their “full potential,” according to MGI. To meet the “full potential” scenario, women would have to participate in the economy identically to men. If that were to happen, it would add up to $28 trillion to the global economy. That’s the size of the Chinese and US economies combined.

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