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Asia Minute: IMF Says Hire More Women

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

Hawai‘i’s population is getting older. According to the latest Census figures, the percentage of the state’s residents aged 65 and over grew by 25 percent from 2011 to 2016. Many countries in Asia are facing a similar situation. And the head of the International Monetary Fund has some advice. It involves women and work. HPR’s Bill Dorman explains in today’s Asia Minute.


One of the best ways to boost the growth of an economy is to increase the presence of women in the workforce.

That’s the message from Christine Lagarde, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund.

Late last week, she told an audience in South Korea that providing equal opportunity for jobs and pay could boost Korea’s economic output by as much as 10 percent – Japan’s by nine percent.

She also said that better job opportunities for women increase economic productivity. Adding that move would help offset issues of an aging population in South Korea and Japan, as well as in China and Thailand.

An aging population means fewer people in the workforce, and, without any other changes, that slows down an economy.

Earlier this year, the Asian Development Bank reported that Asia’s population is aging quickly – adding that “governments in Asia are generally poorly prepared for this vast change that will have wide social and economic consequences.”

IMF Managing Director Lagarde said gender equality would not only help counter some of the challenges of an aging population, but would also encourage innovation.

She told her audience, “to put it simply, when the benefits of growth are shared more broadly, growth is stronger, more durable, and more resilient.”

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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