Shrinking the gender gap in American workplaces could give the US economy a boost almost as big as the GDP of California, according to the latest McKinsey Global Institute study. The institute found that while the economy could grow by $4.3 trillion if the gender gap was completely eliminated, a more realistic target of $2.1 trillion could be hit by 2025 with moves including getting a larger proportion of women to participate in the workforce and more evenly distributing "unpaid care work" like looking after children, Bloomberg reports. According to the McKinsey report, narrowing the gap would improve the economy of every state by at least 5%, and half of them by more than 10%.
"It's the economically smart thing to do," says Kweilin Ellingrud, lead author of the report, which found that women account for just 40% of US productivity. The report gave the US poor marks on issues like teen pregnancy, women in management, and political representation, and high ones on areas such as women in higher education and professional jobs, CNNMoney reports. It suggests that governments should do more to provide childcare and paid parental leave, while businesses invest more in training and recruitment. The report looked at 50 US cities and found that gender equality is highest in Baltimore, where many women are in political power, and Atlanta, where women have a high share of professional jobs. (Other recent research found that women's salaries peak a decade earlier than men's.)