Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, U.S.
Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, U.S. Reuters

International Monetary Fund's chief Christine Lagarde said on Sunday that India's gross domestic product (GDP) can grow by a massive 27% if the level of female workforce becomes equal to that of male in the country.

The positive impact from gender parity in the workforce on the Indian economy will be much higher compared to impact on the world's major economies likes the US and Japan.

"For example, we have estimates that, if the number of female workers were to increase to the same level as the number of men, GDP in the United States would expand by 5 per cent, by 9 per cent in Japan, and by 27 per cent in India," NDTV Profit quoted Lagarde 

Speaking at an event to launch W20, a group of women leaders from the world's 20 largest economies including India, Lagarde said: "it is an absolute economic no-brainer that empowering women boosts economic growth."

"These estimates, while of course tentative, are significant and large enough to be taken seriously. This applies particularly to countries where potential growth is declining as the population is ageing," she added.

She stressed that men have a significant role to play in empowering the women, while quoting Nobel laureate Amartya Sen: "Women are increasingly seen, by men as well as women, as active agents of change -- the dynamic promoters of social transformations that can alter the lives of both women and men."

Pointing out the pledge taken at G20 in November, which aimed at reducing "the gap in women's labour force participation by 25 per cent by 2025," Lagarde said that it would help in generating an estimated 100 million new jobs in the global economy.

"That was The Promise of 2025. Today, I want to focus on how to deliver on that promise... By the latest estimate, there are more than three and half billion reasons why gender equity matters," she said.

Placing women in "secure and well-paid jobs" increases the overall per capita income of a particular country, Lagarde added.

"For Turkey, it has been estimated that gender parity in employment could increase per capita income by 22 per cent. The same kind of gains are also possible for many other countries," she added.

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