The recently World Bank development reports that ‘the lives of girls and women have changed dramatically over the past quarter century. The pace of change has been astonishing in some areas, but in others, progress toward gender equality has been limited—even in developed countries.
‘This year’s World Development Report: Gender Equality and Development argues that gender equality is a core development objective in its own right. It is also smart economics. Greater gender equality can enhance productivity, improve development outcomes for the next generation, and make institutions more representative.
- Productivity gains. Women now represent 40 percent of the global labor force, 43 percent of the world’s agricultural labor force, and more than half the world’s university students. Productivity will be raised if their skills and talents are used more fully. For example, if women farmers were to have the same access as men to fertilizers and other inputs, maize yields would increase by almost one-sixth in Malawi and Ghana. And eliminating barriers that discriminate against women working in certain sectors or occupations could increase labor productivity by as much as 25 percent in some countries.
- Improved outcomes for the next generation. Greater control over household resources by women can enhance countries’ growth prospects by changing spending patterns in ways that benefit children. And improvements in women’s education and health have been linked to better outcomes for their children in countries as varied as Brazil, Nepal, Pakistan, and Senegal.
- More representative decision making. Gender equality matters for society more broadly. Empowering women as economic, political, and social actors can change policy choices and make institutions more representative of a range of voices. In India, giving power to women at the local level led to increases in the provision of public goods, such as water and sanitation, which mattered more to women.
‘The Report also focuses on four priority areas for policy going forward: (i) reducing excess female mortality and closing education gaps where they remain, (ii) improving access to economic opportunities for women (iii) increasing women’s voice and agency in the household and in society and (iv) limiting the reproduction of gender inequality across generations.’
The guide which has nine chapters in three parts:
- Part I Taking stock of gender equality
- Part II What has driven progress? What impedes it?
- Part III The role of and potential for public action
Can be downloaded from the below links: