Rabat – Closing the gender gap in the Moroccan labor force participation rate will strengthen the Kingdom’s economic growth, according to a study conducted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Morocco is currently losing a significant share of income because of gender gaps in the market. The IMF study states that gender segregation currently costs the Kingdom 46% of income per capita compared to countries where women are more present in the labor force market and entrepreneurship participation.
“If women were as numerous to work as men today Morocco, per capita income could be close to 50% higher than it is currently,” says the IMF.
A previous study by the UN indicated that Morocco is ranked 117t out of 155 countries in the MENAP region in terms of gender inequality. It further asserted that countries with high rates of gender inequality grow substantially slower than countries that do.
The study, which aims to assert the impact of gender inequality on the growth of economy in Morocco, found that gender gaps in the Moroccan labor market are “particularly large.”
Female labor force participation has been declining in Morocco over the past decade due to the absence of participation of women over 25 of age, according to the IMF.
Gender gaps are more prominent in Moroccan urban areas than in rural areas, indicating that rural women participate in the labor market in greater numbers but are first to be affected by downturns in economy.
The rate of unemployment in Morocco is “slightly higher” for women than for men. However, educated women have a much higher unemployment rate compared to men with the same level of higher education.
Benefits of Closing Gender Gaps:
The study points out that Morocco is in the midst of a demographic transition, adding that the population growth is slow in the country. The UN predicts a rise in the dependency ratio by 2040. In order to avoid the negative effects of the dependency ratio growth, the IMF suggests that the incorporation of women in the job market may lead to overall income gain of 27% in 2040, if gender gaps are closed in 50 years.
The study also highlighted four associations between gender gaps and weak economic growth:
- More women in the labor force increases the pool of talent that could benefit the economy.
- Diverse and efficient allocation of resources results in higher productivity and growth.
- Women invest large shares of their income in the education of their children.
- gender is related to income inequality, which is a factor in weak economic growth.
Policies that encourage gender equality in Morocco, according to the study:
- The 2011 constitution expanded the rights of Moroccan women in areas of marriage, child custody, access to divorce and guardianship.
- Morocco has the most developed gender budgeting initiative in the Middle East and Central Asia.
- In 2004, Morocco increased maternity leave, offering 14 weeks for recent mothers and a 100% wages, payable from a social security fund.
The IMF acknowledges the measures taken by Morocco in terms of providing gender equality, but suggests the following procedures:
- Providing equality in inheritance rights can create various opportunities for women, such as ownership of housing and land.
- Bestowing access to education for girls, literacy programs for women in rural areas and vocational training for women in all areas.
- Creating local jobs for women, and encouraging female entrepreneurship.