Women’s Empowerment is Smart Economics

Dr. Yana Rodgers

  1. Introductory Remarks
    1. Women’s economic empowerment improves efficacy in the labor force
    2. Discuss women’s empowerment in the labor market using a global [respective
    3. Demonstrate that the benefits of empowering women extend to their family and to economies as a whole
  2. Womens Entrepreneurship
    1. Globally: small scale entrepreneurship an imporatn source of income generation for women and men
      1. Provides flexibility
      2. Allows for upward mobility in labor market
      3. Source of income for women in conservative countries where women face constraints working outside the globe
      4. Allows combination of child care with income generation
    2. Strategies to Promote Women’s Entrepreneurship
      1. Loans
        1. Microfinance
          1. Rapid growth of microfinance since Grameen Bank
          2. Helps to incentive creation and maintenance of small scale businesses
          3. Microfinance different from commercial banking
      2. Conditional Cash Transfer Programs
        1. Cash disbursements to women made conditional on social targets, such as school enrollment and healthcare access for their children
        2. Some programs include support for women’s education, training and employment
        3. Most well known: Mexico’s Oportunidades (Progresa) program and Brazil’s Bolsa Familia
        4. Based on research on income held by women
      3. Bundled Financial Packages
        1. Not all studies have found positive impacts of loans, grants, and cash on women’s entrepreneurship and empowerment; some found zero impact
        2. Greater access to capital not sufficient to help women’s businesses to grow
  1. Gender and Agriculture: Gaps and Consequences
    1. Agriculture still the primary source of employment in many developing countries
    2. Three salient features of the gendered division of labor in agriculture:
      1. Women allocate a disproportion among of time to childcare and domestic responsibilities
      2. Together with their relatively greater burden of unpaid housework and caring labor
    3. These inefficient have negative repercussions fro agriculture productivity and overall economic progress
    4. Agricultural sectors also characterized by large gender gaps in productivity across countries
    5. Wage Labor in agricultural markets
      1. Common features:
        1. Women’s relative participation in the total wage market is low
        2. Women’s less likely to hold full time jobs
        3. Women have seasonal jobs
    6. Strategies to Promote Women’s Agency in Agriculture
      1. Need to dismantle a structure of constrains that limit women full access to agricultural resources and paid employment
        1. Develop infrastructure to reduce their unpaid work burdens
        2. Promote gender-aware agriculture extension services
        3. Formalization of women land ownership and property rights
  1. Wage Employment
    1. Gender differences in wage employment encompass:
      1. Labor force participation rates (LFPRs)
      2. Wage gaps
    2. Gender wage gaps
      1. On average, women earn less than men in countries
      2. Men’s advantage often persists over time
      3. Gaps partially explained by gender differences in observes characteristics
      4. Globalization impacts women’s employment
    3. Wage Employment: Gender Differences
      1. Working conditions have become an issue for women given female labor intensity of export production
      2. Employment gains for women have come as a mixed blessing
    4. Employment segregation
    5. Strategies to Promote Equal treatment
      1. Key objective: reduce disparities in pay and employment by passing and enforcing anti-discrimination legislation
      2. Improve working conditions in global factories through:
        1. Government enforcement of existing labor laws
        2. Consumer pressure on cooperations to enforce codes of conduct
      3. Provide level playing field for working parents with paid parental leave, paid sick leave and public support with childcare
      4. Increase access to schooling and promote skill development for girls and women
    6. Economic growth affects gender inequality
  1. Take Home Points
    1. Economic growth is not sufficient to immerse entered well being in all its dimensions
    2. Emphasis on maintaining competitiveness
    3. Provide women with greater access to credit
    4. invest in infrastructure
    5. Strengthen women property rights
    6. Gender smart policy approaches promote equality, raise productivity and improve long run growth and well being