Seven Drivers

From the wealth and diversity of experience around the world, the High-Level Panel identified seven primary drivers of transformation. For each of these seven drivers of change, the panel highlights concrete actions and interventions that are proven, in the sense that they have demonstrated impact in reducing gender gaps—or promising, in the sense that experience and analysis to date suggest valuable potential.

Tackling adverse norms and promoting positive role models


Challenging and transforming the negative and harmful norms that limit women's access to work and that often devalue their work are core to achieving women’s economic empowerment.

Key Fact


Globally, nearly two in five people agree that men should have stronger rights than women to jobs when they are scarce.

Ensuring legal protection and reforming discriminatory laws and regulations


Laws reflect society’s expectations for gender roles. By guaranteeing equal opportunities and protections, and by removing legal barriers, governments signal their commitment to achieve and enforce gender equality.

Key Fact


Ninety percent of economies have at least one gender-differentiated law, and there are 943 gender-differentiated laws among 170 economies.

Recognizing, reducing and redistributing unpaid work and care


Progress on the agenda to expand women’s economic empowerment depends, to a significant extent, on closing the gender gap in unpaid work and investing in quality care services and decent care jobs.

Key Fact


Women undertake three times more unpaid work than men and spend about half as much time in paid work.

Building assets - Digital, financial and property


Eliminating gender disparities in work and in society depends on eliminating disparities in access to key assets. Digital, financial and property assets matter for economic opportunities.

Key Facts


Worldwide, some 2.3 billion women do not have any Internet access, and more than 1.7 billion do not own a mobile phone—some 200 million fewer women than men have online access or mobile phones.

57 percent of women globally have a financial account, against 64 percent of men.

Gender differences in the ownership and control of property are major determinants of gender inequality.

Changing business culture and practice


Business culture, practice and policies are major drivers of women’s economic opportunities. Beyond basic protections and standards that are the “right thing to do,” companies are realizing the business value of women’s economic empowerment.

Key Fact


According to Credit Suisse calculations based on 3,000 companies across 40 countries and all major sectors, women accounted for only 4 percent of chief executive officers in 2013.

Improving public sector practices in employment and procurement


Beyond their key roles in determining the legal, institutional and policy environments that affect women’s economic opportunities, governments are major employers and procurers of goods and services. The power of governments in setting high standards for and exemplifying gender equality at work cannot be underestimated.

Key Fact


Globally, only an estimated 1 percent of public procurement contracts go to women-owned enterprises.

Strengthening visibility, collective voice and representation


The rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining are fundamental labour and human rights, enshrined in international ILO conventions going back to the 1940s. These rights apply to all workers, including workers in the informal economy. Women’s organizing allows working women to voice their needs and demands more effectively, enhance their bargaining power, advocate for legal and policy reforms and increase access to markets on fair and efficient terms.

Key Fact


Trade union membership has been on the decline globally, but women’s share of membership is rising. Women are the majority of trade union members in 33% of the 39 developing and developed countries with data.

Tackling adverse norms and promoting positive role models


Challenging and transforming the negative and harmful norms that limit women's access to work and that often devalue their work are core to achieving women’s economic empowerment.

Key Fact


Globally nearly two in five people agree that men should have stronger rights than women to jobs when they are scarce.

Ensuring legal protection and reforming discriminatory laws and regulations


Laws reflect society’s expectations for gender roles. By guaranteeing equal opportunities and protections, and by removing legal barriers, governments signal their commitment to achieve and enforce gender equality.

Key Fact


Ninety percent of economies have at least one gender-differentiated law, and there are 943 gender-differentiated laws among 170 economies.

Recognizing, reducing and redistributing unpaid work and care


Progress on the agenda to expand women’s economic empowerment depends, to a significant extent, on closing the gender gap in unpaid work and investing in quality care services and decent care jobs.

Key Fact


Women undertake three times more unpaid work than men and spend about half as much time in paid work.

Building assets - Digital, financial and property


Eliminating gender disparities in work and in society depends on eliminating disparities in access to key assets. Digital, financial and property assets matter for economic opportunities.

Key Facts


Worldwide, some 2.3 billion women do not have any Internet access, and more than 1.7 billion do not own a mobile phone—some 200 million fewer women than men have online access or mobile phones.

57 percent of women globally have a financial account, against 64 percent of men.

Gender differences in the ownership and control of property are major determinants of gender inequality.

Changing business culture and practice


Business culture, practice and policies are major drivers of women’s economic opportunities. Beyond basic protections and standards that are the “right thing to do,” companies are realizing the business value of women’s economic empowerment.

Key Fact


According to Credit Suisse calculations based on 3,000 companies across 40 countries and all major sectors, women accounted for only 4 percent of chief executive officers in 2013.

Improving public sector practices in employment and procurement


Beyond their key roles in determining the legal, institutional and policy environments that affect women’s economic opportunities, governments are major employers and procurers of goods and services. The power of governments in setting high standards for and exemplifying gender equality at work cannot be underestimated.

Key Fact


Globally, only an estimated 1 percent of public procurement contracts go to women-owned enterprises.

Strengthening visibility, collective voice and representation


The rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining are fundamental labour and human rights, enshrined in international ILO conventions going back to the 1940s. These rights apply to all workers, including workers in the informal economy. Women’s organizing allows working women to voice their needs and demands more effectively, enhance their bargaining power, advocate for legal and policy reforms and increase access to markets on fair and efficient terms.

Key Fact


Trade union membership has been on the decline globally, but women’s share of membership is rising. Women are the majority of trade union members in 33% of the 39 developing and developed countries with data.