April 11, 2021

Closing the gender gap would add up to 231,000 million, 18.5% of GDP, and would create 3.2 million jobs

Closing the 35.9% gender gap in the Spanish labor market would add 230,487 million euros to the Spanish economy, 18.5% of GDP, which would boost the creation of 3.2 million female jobs full-time equivalents and an average increase in female productivity of 1,301 euros.

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This follows from the ClosinGap index, an indicator resulting from the report prepared by PwC that quantifies and annually monitors the evolution of gender equality in Spain, measuring parity in five categories (employment, education, work-life balance, digitization, and health and well-being).

The report points out that the three key aspects of employment that penalize women and, consequently, the economy are their lower participation in the labor market, the lower number of hours worked due to the higher part-time rate and overrepresentation they have in less productive economic sectors.

This situation means that women, despite representing 51.4% of the working-age population, only contribute 41.5% of GDP, according to the analysis, which calculates that with the elimination of these inequalities from the market labor, as a whole, would mean adding 230,847 million euros, 18.5% of GDP.

In addition, this potential increase in the economy would be driven by the creation of 3.2 million full-time equivalent female jobs and by the average increase in female productivity of 1,301 euros.

In 2020, the ClosinGap Index stood at 64.1%, understanding 100% as total parity, and therefore reveals a 35.9% gender gap that has yet to be closed.

Reduction of the gap by four points

The analysis also points out that this gap has narrowed four points in the period analyzed (2015-2020). Thus, if the trend of the last five years continues, the gender gap in Spain would not completely disappear until 2055, so that total equality between men and women would not be achieved until 35 years from now.

Within the employment category, the gap to close is 35%, because although women increasingly participate in the labor market and for more years, they continue to work fewer hours and with a lower salary than men, which is it reflects in turn in lower retirement pensions.

Added to this context is the so-called ‘glass ceiling’ and the scarce presence of women in leadership and decision-making positions.

If the labor force participation of women were equated with that of men, the Spanish GDP could increase by 10.1%. Similarly, if women’s hours worked were the same as their male counterparts, GDP could grow by up to 7.5%. Finally, if the sectoral distribution of female employment were equal to that of men, GDP would increase by up to 1%.

Reconciliation problems

The ClosinGap Index places the work-life balance category at the bottom, with the most pronounced gap, given that there is still 56% to close, and shows that women continue to undertake most of the unpaid work, mainly housework and care of children, a fact that translates into much higher rates of inactivity and job partiality.

Despite the fact that this is one of the most deeply rooted aspects in Spanish society and that it significantly slows down the professional and economic progression of women, the report reveals that work-life balance is the gap that is narrowing at a higher annual rate ( 4.4% since 2015). If this progression continues, the differences in this area will be non-existent in 2040.

In the field of education, the ClosinGap index places the gap at 32.1%. Women have a higher university education than men, but they have very low access compared to men to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) careers, which is why this gap is the only one of the five that has experienced a negative evolution in recent years.

Regarding digitization, although there are no relevant differences in the use of new technologies at the user level between men and women, the percentage of women specialized in ICT in the labor market is still very low, with a gap of 28.7 %.

Finally, the health and well-being category achieves the best score (15.5%) and is the area in which Spain has evolved the most. Although parity in this field is closer, the report points out that despite the fact that women live longer, they do so with poorer health and quality of life than men and, in addition, they have a higher risk of suffering poverty and social exclusion.


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