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Women Participation In Labor Force Lags Men At All Ages, Study Shows

A widely released report by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with Mercer reveals females have lower labor force participation rates than males across all age groups. Throughout most of adult life, women’s participation lies around the 60-70% range, whereas the percentage of male participation is in the high 80s. Globally, half of women in their late 50s are in the labor force (compared to nearly 4 in 5 men) and in their early 60’s only a third are in the labor force (compared to nearly two-thirds of men). This pattern holds across geographies. These statistics are part of The Human Capital Report,, which assesses the quality of human capital across 122 countries.

“The study brings to light the significant potential for societal and economic benefits of public and private policies that support women’s participation in the workforce,” says Patricia Milligan, Region President for North America at Mercer. “Women’s skill development and workplace inclusion translates to better child health and nutrition, and is linked to increasing investments in children’s education, especially for girls. At the other end of the lifecycle, the benefits are in greater retirement security and a reduced burden on family or government for support in old age.”

Mercer is leading a global research initiative to assess organizational success in realizing the full potential of women in their workplaces. Leveraging elements of an assessment developed by EDGE Certified Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides the only global business certification scheme for gender equity, Mercer’s research will evaluate the effectiveness of organizations in driving value through four actionable pillars: talent management, employee health, compensation and wealth, and culture.

“Organizations interested in improving gender equity will have new insights on leading policies and practices, will be able to assess their relative position, and will have access to processes to measure their progress and certify their achievements,” says Martine Ferland, Chair of Women@Mercer for Europe & Pacific.

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