Front Matter

Front Matter

Lisa Kolovich
Published Date:
October 2017
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    Fiscal Policies and Gender Equality

    Lisa Kolovich, Editor

    Note to Readers

    This is an excerpt from Fiscal Policies and Gender Equality edited by Lisa Kolovich.

    The International Monetary Fund and other international institutions have focused in recent years on developing a range of approaches to help whittle away at the barriers that prevent girls and women from achieving their full economic potential. This book is based on a joint research project between the IMF and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development on gender budgeting around the world. It summarizes some of the most prominent gender budgeting efforts in more than 80 countries tried over the last two decades.

    Although the gender gap is shrinking, progress remains uneven across many regions of the world. Gender budgeting allows fiscal authorities to ensure that tax spending and policies address inequality and the advancement of women in areas such as education, health, and economic empowerment. There are still many lessons to be learned in implementing the appropriate government policies and fiscal measures to continue promoting women’s development and gender equality.

    This excerpt is taken from uncorrected page proofs. Please check quotations and attributions against the final published volume.

    Fiscal Policies and Gender Equality

    edited by Lisa Kolovich

    ISBN: 978-1-51359036-3

    Pub. Date: Fall 2017

    Formats: Digital; Paperback, 6x9 in., pp.256

    Price: US$25

    For additional information on this book, please contact:

    International Monetary Fund, IMF Publications

    P.O. Box 92780, Washington, DC 20090, U.S.A.

    Tel: (202) 623-7430 Fax: (202) 623-7201


    © 2017 International Monetary Fund


    • Foreword by Christine Lagarde

    • Acknowledgments

    • 1 | Gender Budgeting: How Fiscal Policy Can Promote Gender Equality

    • Lisa Kolovich

    • 2 | Africa

    • Christine Kadama, Lisa Kolovich, Samson Kwalingana, Monique Newiak, Caroline Ntumwa, and Francine Nyankiye

    • 3 | Asia

    • Lisa Kolovich and Prakash Loungani

    • 4 | Europe

    • Sheila Quinn

    • 5 | Latin America

    • Lucía Pérez Fragoso and Corina Rodríguez Enríquez

    • 6 | Middle East and Central Asia

    • Lisa Kolovich and Sakina Shibuya

    • 7 | Pacific Islands, the Caribbean, and Small States

    • Tamoya A. L. Christie and Dhanaraj Thakur

    • References

    • Author Biographies

    • Index


    The International Monetary Fund is deeply committed to playing its role in building a global economy that benefits all people—through policy advice, capacity development, and financial support. While not long ago few people would have expected the IMF to be engaged in work on gender inequality, the IMF is now committed to promoting gender equality because empowering women is not only the right moral choice, it is also critical for economic growth and prosperity.

    Our work includes assessing the impact of gender inequality on macroeconomic outcomes, inclusive growth, and development. Working with country authorities, academics, and other international organizations, over the past few years the IMF has contributed to building a solid analytical foundation. For example, we have explored the ways in which empowering women can raise GDP growth. In low-income countries, for instance, a 10 percentage point decrease in gender inequality could boost growth by two percentage points over the following five years. Women’s empowerment can also support economic diversification, help economies cope with demographic change, tackle income inequality, and boost corporate performance. We have assessed the macroeconomic benefits of removing legal barriers that currently restrict women’s economic participation in 90 percent of countries around the world. We have also identified policies to get more women into paid, formal work. These include investing in education and infrastructure, supporting family-friendly working practices, and reforming tax systems.

    Our work does not stop with research and analysis. We are actively incorporating gender analysis and specific policy advice into our annual reviews of member countries’ economies. To date, we have completed gender studies for 27 countries, with more to come. For India, we recommended investing in transportation to ease workers’ transition from informal to formal employment. We emphasized the economic benefits of investing in girls’ education for Chile, Costa Rica, Hungary, and Pakistan, among others. For Germany, we highlighted the need for high-quality and affordable childcare, and we called for tax reforms to avoid penalizing secondary earners—usually women. For Mauritius, we examined ways to expand women’s access to finance, which can help them start or expand small businesses. Importantly, in IMF-supported lending programs—including in Jordan, Egypt, and Niger—we increasingly emphasize women’s economic empowerment and participation. In Egypt, for instance, our program supports improved provision of childcare, as well as safer public transport.

    Clearly, sound fiscal policies are a prerequisite for macroeconomic stability—which is essential to boost growth, jobs, and income for all. At the same time, fiscal policy must be actively shaped to achieve gender equality goals—an approach referred to as “gender budgeting.” In 2016, the IMF, in partnership with the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), completed the first-ever global review of gender budgeting efforts. Building upon this survey, we began to emphasize the potential of gender budgeting, and we offer technical assistance to help member countries implement initiatives to use fiscal policy and public financial management to promote gender equality. Tis book builds on the findings of the 2016 IMF-DFID survey to provide a snapshot of such initiatives around the globe. Work on fiscal policy and gender is increasingly relevant as the global community seeks to achieve specific targets under the Sustainable Development Goals.

    Tough we still have a long way to go before gender equality and its economic potential are fully realized, through our research and policy advice, we are contributing to the global effort to get us there.

    Christine Lagarde

    Managing Director

    International Monetary Fund


    This book explores how fiscal policies can contribute to addressing women’s and girls’ disadvantages in education, health, employment, and financial well-being, and represents the efforts of a team of researchers from a joint collaboration between the International Monetary Fund and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID). A series of working papers and toolkit were developed, and versions of these papers were presented and discussed at an IMF conference in November 2016. Tat conference convened around 150 practitioners, academics, policymakers, and civil society representatives to discuss how fiscal policies can contribute to gender equality, with a focus on low-income countries. The participants examined evidence-based design of fiscal policies to promote equality and practical aspects of implementing gender budgeting.

    The conference and much of the IMF’s work on gender budgeting under the DFID-sponsored research project was spearheaded by Janet Stotsky. Dr. Stotsky, currently Economist in Residence at American University, was an economist and manager with the IMF for 21 years. She led IMF teams to negotiate with IMF member countries, prepare country reports on macroeconomic developments, and provide technical assistance on fiscal policies and administration. She is widely published on public finance, gender, and macroeconomic issues. She has taught at American University and Rutgers University and has a Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University and a B.A. in economics from Princeton University. The IMF gratefully acknowledges Dr. Stotsky’s contribution to the body of work that is collected in this volume.

    The following IMF staff members and outside experts provided helpful discussion and comments throughout this project: Virginia Alonso Albarran, Andrew Berg, Mark Blackden, Rupa Duttagupta, Diane Elson, Manal Fouad, Caren Grown, Zohra Khan, Stephan Klasen, Kalpana Kochhar, Prakash Loungani, Monique Newiak, Chris Papageorgiou, Carolina Renteria Rodriguez, Sakina Shibuya, Alberto Soler, and Daria Zakharova.

    The manuscript for this book was edited by Eric Van Zant. The cover was designed by Jesse Sanchez Art & Design. Linda Griffin Kean in the Editorial and Publications Division of the IMF’s Communications Department supervised the editing and production of the book.

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