Women could make Asia rich

Apr 26, 2018

“WOMEN hold up half the sky,” Mao Zedong used to say, when not harassing peasant girls. They also hold up 41% of China’s GDP, the biggest share in the Asia-Pacific (see chart), says a new report by the McKinsey Global Institute, the consultancy’s think-tank.

In fact, Mao was subtly mistranslated, points out Perry Link, a China scholar. He actually said that women “can” hold up half the sky. McKinsey also thinks Asian women can make a bigger economic contribution. It finds “quite impressive” signs of progress in many countries, says Anu Madgavkar, one of the report’s authors. In Japan the percentage of women in the labour force has increased quickly in the past ten years; in the Philippines 142 women hold professional or technical jobs for every 100 men; China boasts 114 of the world’s 147 female, self-made billionaires (America has 14).

But China could add 13% to its GDP by 2025, relative to a baseline, if it increased women’s employment, hours and productivity as...

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