This month HBR examines the economic gains to be had as another one billion women join the workforce globally, and how well countries are doing enabling their participation.

By Jessica Stillman (Editor, Women 2.0)

How much is the global economy losing because women’s talents aren’t being put to their full use? The Harvard Business Review provides some numbers to give you an idea this month.

“If women in the United States, Japan, and Egypt were employed at the same rates as men, the GDPs of those countries would be higher by 5%, 9%, and 34%, respectively,” claims the new article.

That increase would represent not only a lot of extra money, but also a lot more fulfilled and empowered women, but these gains won’t happen by magic. There is much governments can do to make sure the talents of half their populations aren’t going to waste. So how are the nations of the world doing? That’s the question examined by the article, which relies on research by Booz & Company to create a matrix illustrating which countries have the most women in the workforce and how they stack up economically.

“The Booz researchers estimate that nearly one billion women could enter the global economy in the coming decade,” concludes the article, which quotes Angel Gurría, the secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation, who calls women, “the most underutilized economic asset in the world’s economy.”

Check out the visualization at HBR.

Women 2.0 readers: Does any of this data surprise you?

Jessica Stillman is an editor at Women 2.0 and a freelance writer with interests in unconventional career paths, generational differences, and the future of work. She writes a daily column for and has blogged for CBS MoneyWatch, GigaOM, and Brazen Careerist, among others. Follow her on Twitter at @entrylevelrebel.

Photo credit: Steve Evans