11 Aug 2011

Report highlights economic benefits of working women

9:22 am on 11 August 2011

A report on how to close the gender gap in the workforce has been released by the investment bank Goldman Sachs.

Closing the Gender Gap: Plenty of Economic Upside estimates that equalising the employment rates of men and women will boost New Zealand's gross domestic product by 10%.

It says the Government could do more to close the gender gap by finding ways to encourage highly educated women to work in sectors outside their traditional roles in the education, health and support sectors.

It also urges the Government to consider how women might be encouraged women to stay in the workforce and to ensure more of them take up leadership roles.

In response, the Equal Employment Opportunities Trust says if more women are to stay in the workforce, employers should offer more flexible hours.

Chief executive of the Equal Employment Opportunities Trust Philippa Reid says community sector organisations have been good at saying what they can't offer in pay, they can make up for in flexible hours.

She suggests businesses struggling with a gender gap could now think about offering more flexibility as a way to keep their female staff in the workplace.