Stalled Progress: Recent Research on Why Labor Markets Are Failing Women

Recent progress in narrowing gender gaps in education, health, and political representation is not matched by similar improvements in labor market outcomes for women, or more broadly, women’s economic empowerment.  This paper by PERI economist James Heintz addresses the complex links between factors that shape women’s labor market participation and their economic empowerment. It reviews and synthesizes research findings from the Growth and Economic Opportunity Program to shed light on why development gains have yet to translate into more and better employment for women in some regions, and why employment gains seen in others have failed to empower women.

This research report was funded and supported by Canada's International Development Research Centre.

Abstract

Recent progress in narrowing gender gaps in education, health, and political representation is not matched by similar improvements in labor market outcomes for women, or more broadly, women’s economic empowerment. This paper draws on findings generated through the Growth and Economic Opportunities for Women (GrOW) program to explore this paradox. It addresses the complex links between factors that shape women’s labor market participation and their economic empowerment. It reviews and synthesizes GrOW research findings to shed light on why development gains have yet to translate into more and better employment for women in some regions, and why employment gains seen in others have failed to empower women.

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