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Closing the Gender Gap

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image of Closing the Gender Gap

Gender gaps are pervasive in all walks of economic life and imply large losses in terms of foregone productivity and living standards to the individuals concerned and the economy. This new OECD report focuses on how best to close these gender gaps under four broad headings: 1) Gender equality, social norms and public policies; and gender equality in 2) education; 3) employment and 4) entrepreneurship.

Key policy messages are as follows:

-Greater gender equality in educational attainment has a strong positive effect on economic growth;

-Stereotyping needs to be addressed in educational choices at school from a young age. For example, adapt teaching strategies and material to increase engagement of boys in reading and of girls in maths and science; encourage more girls to follow science, engineering and maths courses in higher education and seek employment in these fields;

-Good and affordable childcare is a key factor for better gender equality in employment. But change also has to happen at home as the bulk of housework and caring is left to women in many countries. Policy can support such change, for example, through parental leave policies that explicitly include fathers.

-Support policies for women-owned enterprises need to target all existing firms, not just start-ups and small enterprises. Equal access to finance for male and female entrepreneurs needs to be assured.

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Gender equality in entrepreneurship

There are fewer women entrepreneurs then men in OECD countries and women-owned enterprises have on average lower profits. This section looks at why there are fewer women entrepreneurs than men, the different reasons they have for starting a business, and the different skills they bring to the job. It also looks at the reasons why women-owned businesses have lower profits, and why self-employed women work less, and earn less, than self-employed men. It asks whether women find it harder to finance their business than men and have less innovative enterprises. Finally, it examines policies that support female entrepreneurs in micro- and small businesses – particularly in developing countries – by encouraging entrepreneurs to exit informality and by addressing their specific needs.?

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