Women and Girls: Investing in Women's Economic Empowerment

Learn more about Natalie Gonnella-Platts.
Natalie Gonnella-Platts
Director, Women's Advancement
George W. Bush Institute

When women succeed, we all benefit. Women’s economic empowerment boosts economic growth and prosperity and helps safeguard democracy. Most importantly, it ensures that women have an equal chance to build a bright future for themselves and their families.

Women’s economic empowerment is essential to growth, democratic resilience, and better societal outcomes both here in the United States and around the world. Amid the economic fallout from the global coronavirus pandemic, increased support for holistic interventions is needed now more than ever — especially as the COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated the challenges that impede the full and active economic participation of women.


Employing women at the same levels as men across sectors – thereby closing the gender gap in the workforce – could add $28 trillion to global GDP. In particular, private enterprise and private-sector development help alleviate poverty and boost economic growth. Companies with women on their boards experience a 42% greater return on sales and a 66% higher return on invested capital than those with less gender diversity; this illustrates the strong correlation between gender diversity on corporate boards and financial performance. Moreover, gender equity and recognition and protection of women’s economic and social rights fortifies good governance and accountability and decreases the risk of democratic backsliding.


Simply put, women’s equal and active participation across all levels of the economy is imperative for prosperity in communities and countries at large.