Advancing gender equality directly improves the lives of women and girls. That much is obvious, but it’s only part of the picture.
In the long run, gender equality benefits everyone, from boys to businesses to battlefields. Here are eight reasons why everyone should support gender equality:
1. It’s good for children.
Healthy, happy mothers give birth to healthy, happy children. Research shows that gender inequality is associated with higher rates of infant mortality, which is influenced by a mother’s exposure to domestic violence, undernutrition, and HIV/AIDS — all indicators of a country’s gender equality.
2. It’s good for families.
Egalitarian relationships are better for both parents and children. According to one study, couples that share housekeeping and child-rearing responsibilities report happier and more stable relationships. Shared child-rearing also lets children spend more time with their fathers, which benefits the child’s cognitive development and long-term wellbeing.
3. It’s good for business.
When businesses hire women, everybody wins. Research shows that gender-diverse companies outperform their competitors in profitability, resilience, and employee satisfaction. Gender-inclusivity also increases a company’s rate of innovation by an estimated 59%, according to USAID.
4. It’s good for men.
Despite what many may think, rigid gender norms hurt men, too. They pressure boys into behaviors, relationships, and careers that are stereotypically masculine and sometimes harmful, teaching them to suppress their true ambitions and emotions. By transcending these stereotypes and dismantling toxic masculinity, gender equality grants men greater freedom and individuality.
5. It’s good for the economy.
The global labor-force participation rate for men is 72%. For women, it’s 47%. Empowering women to join the labor force and closing this employment gap could add as much as $28 trillion to global annual GDP, an increase of about 26%, according to McKinsey Global Institute.
6. It fosters peace.
The biggest predictor of national peace isn’t GDP or regime type — it’s gender equality. Women’s rights are human rights, and countries that protect them are less inclined to violent conflict. Gender equality also benefits diplomacy, with gender-inclusive negotiations yielding peace agreements that are between 20 and 35% more durable.
7. It creates a sustainable population.
When women and girls lack decision-making power over their own bodies, it can lead to unwanted sex and pregnancies. When women have the freedom to make those decisions themselves, fertility rates decrease — which is more sustainable for families and the world.
8. It’s good for the environment.
Finally, gender equality benefits the planet. Perhaps because women and girls are disproportionately burdened by climate crises, research suggests that they’re more likely to support pro-environment policies. Countries with greater representation of women in government are also more likely to create natural reserve areas and ratify international environmental treaties.