Gender and Economy

There is a growing recognition that increased participation
of women in the global economy will have multiplier effects
for both economic and social value creation. Today, women
control approximately $20 trillion in annual consumer
spending, earn $13 trillion in annual income and, in
aggregate, represent a growth market bigger than China
and India combined. Women also stand to inherit more than
$1 trillion in wealth over the next few decades. Even with
women’s growing economic power, gender inequalities are
still large and persistent in most countries. Progress towards
equality, measured by consistently equal access to economic,
social and political opportunities, remains stagnant.
Despite widespread acknowledgment of the gender gap, and
credible efforts to close it, a primary challenge that remains is
truly understanding the underlying mechanisms that produce
gender gaps and identifying which actions can be most
effective in addressing them. Without these insights, we end
up being in the same old conversations about diversity and
Many organizations have produced studies highlighting
correlations between gender metrics and financial outcomes,
but less is known about the activities and actions that lead to
these relationships. Further, even less is known about what
solutions can work. The Institute for Gender and the Economy
at the Rotman School has been launched precisely to address
these challenges by using rigorous research to change the
conversation on gender equality.

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