10 Sep 2012

Investing in women's equality good for Pacific economies - World Bank

4:11 am on 10 September 2012

A World Bank official says investing in women's equality in the Pacific is good for countries' economies.

The bank says agriculture is one the main sources of employment for women, and in Papua New Guinea, annual food production, largely the responsibility of women, has been valued at 55 million dollars per year.

It says women tend to save more than men, but often have low levels of financial literacy.

A vice-president with the Bank's commercial arm, the IFC, Karin Finkelston, says giving women a voice in the government, it can lead to a bigger role in the workforce.

"We've estimated that if women were to play the role that they could in the workforce, that workforce productivity in the Pacific would increase from 8 to 18 percent. Which is a huge impact on economic development in the countries. What we are looking at is how to work with Pacific island governments and our donor partners, to make sure that women's business associations are started."

Karin Finkelston says getting women into formal work has a huge impact on families, the community and the economy.