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India’s GDP will grow if more women are employed: UNDP
New Delhi, Mar 8 (IANS):
Published on 8 Mar. 2010 10:55 PM IST
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India can increase its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by as much as 4 percent if the employment rate for women is pushed up, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) said Monday. In a report released on the occasion of the International Women’s Day, it said: “In countries such as India, Indonesia and Malaysia, conservative estimates show that GDP would increase by 2-4 percent annually if women’s employment rates were raised to 70 percent, closer to the rate of many developed countries.” Helen Clark, the UNDP administrator who released the report here, said: “Under-representation of women in workforce has a negative impact on GDP. The report shows that despite 65 percent female employment in South Asia and more than 40 percent in East Asia in agriculture, women head only 7 percent of farms in the Asia Pacific region.” The report, ‘Power, Voice and Rights- A Turning Point for Gender Equality in Asia and the Pacific’, further said that a total of 67 percent of East Asian women participate in labour force, above the global average of 53 percent. But South Asian women lag behind at 36 percent. According to Clark and as suggested in the report, certain changes need to be brought about to turn things around. “Customary laws and inheritance practices overwhelmingly favour men as they remain deeply embedded in traditions often drawn from interpretations of religion. In the Pacific, two out of three countries discriminate against women when it comes to inheritance practices,” Clark said. “Therefore same inheritance rights to get women’s voices heard is very important. Even the Millenium Development Goals (MDG) cannot be achieved if women’s rights are not respected,” she added. On a positive note, the report said the flow of women into business in Asia-Pacific was steady, with 35 percent small and medium enterprises in the region headed by women.

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