WEF estimates it will take 257 years to close the economic gender gap

Anne Boring, Assistant Professor at Erasmus School of Economics
Erasmus School of Economics

Anne Boring, Assistant Professor at Erasmus School of Economics, is a guest at France24 about what steps governments and companies need to take to speed up the process of closing the gender gap in economic participation.

Closing the gap

It was assumed that economies would naturally tend towards gender equality, but nothing seems further from the truth. In fact, it would take 257 years to close the gender gap across the world. Women still experience difficulties gaining economic power, even in the more advanced economies we still see that they are a lot behind compared to men, says Boring. Several elements play part. For example, women often bear heavier burdens in parenthood and household. Also, women appear to perform less well on the job. Not necessarily because they don't have the qualities, but because the environment is not optimal for them to work their way up to the top.


Even if a woman manages to hold such a high position, it is hard to maintain it. According to Anne Boring, this is due to stereotypes, where the economic leader is still seen as a man. In this way, it is harder for woman to be seen as competent in this position. They are often held to male-typical standards and can be sanctioned because they don’t actually behave like a man in certain situations. As a result of these existing stereotypes, women are much more likely to be penalised for any type of fault or potential wrongdoing.  

Female economic empowerment

There are some policies that can be implemented to help these competent women to gain economic power and reach these leadership positions. Companies function better when there is more diversity. What needs to be done, is the implementation of incentives that stimulate companies to create more diversity on the work floor.  

Watch the show's episode

Watch the full episode here in English and here in French, 14 February 2020.

Assistant professor

Anne Boring

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