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Romina Kazandjian, Ms. Lisa L Kolovich, Ms. Kalpana Kochhar, and Ms. Monique Newiak
We show that gender inequality decreases the variety of goods countries produce and export, in particular in low-income and developing countries. We argue that this happens through at least two channels: first, gender gaps in opportunity, such as lower educational enrollment rates for girls than for boys, harm diversification by constraining the potential pool of human capital available in an economy. Second, gender gaps in the labor market impede the development of new ideas by decreasing the efficiency of the labor force. Our empirical estimates support these hypotheses, providing evidence that gender-friendly policies could help countries diversify their economies.
Ms. Christine Dieterich, Anni Huang, and Mr. Alun H. Thomas
As labor market data is scarce in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), this paper uses household survey data to analyze the determinants of the gender gap in the labor market and its welfare implications for five SSA countries in multinomial logit models with propensity score matching method. The analysis confirms that education opens up opportunities for women to escape agricultural feminization and engage in formal wage employment, but these opportunities diminish when women marry—a disadvantage increasingly relevant when countries develop and urbanization progresses. Opening a household enterprise offers women an alternative avenue to escape low-paid jobs in agriculture, but the increase in per capita income is lower than male-owned household enterprises. These findings underline that improving women’s education needs to be supported by measures to allow married women to keep their jobs in the wage sector.

Abstract

Women make up a little over half of the world’s population, but their contribution to measured economic activity and growth is far below its potential. Despite significant progress in recent decades, labor markets across the world remain divided along gender lines, and progress toward gender equality seems to have stalled. The challenges of growth, job creation, and inclusion are closely intertwined. This volume brings together key research by IMF economists on issues related to gender and macroeconomics. In addition to providing policy prescriptions and case studies from IMF member countries, the chapters also look at the gender gap from an economic point of view.