The level of income that women acquire is the economic return from their skills.
Increasing the economic return from their skills helps women to achieve greater economic independence through improved lifetime incomes.
In 2011 Goldman Sachs report, Closing the gaps: Plenty of potential economic upside, estimated that improving the workforce participation and the use of women's skills could boost New Zealand's GDP by 10 percent. The OECD and the World Bank also highlight women’s underused skills and talents as a productivity issue.
In 2011 the Ministry commissioned a series of research projects on the changes in women’s employment, earnings and business management.
Among the objectives, the research sought to describe how women’s skills have increased over the last generation and consider which skills matter for economic gain. This research continues to inform the Ministry’s future work programme and priorities.