Cover Image
close this book Development in practice: Toward Gender Equality
View the document Foreword
View the document Acknowledgments
close this folder Definitions and Data Notes
View the document Definitions
View the document Data Notes
View the document Summary
View the document Progress to Date
View the document Why Do Gender Inequalities Persist?
View the document Strategies for the Future
View the document Conclusion
close this folder Chapter one
View the document Gender Inequalities Persist
View the document Education
View the document Health
View the document Employment Work
close this folder Chapter two
View the document Gender Inequalities Hamper Growth
View the document Household and Intrahousehold Resource Allocation
View the document Linkages between Education Health, and Nutritious
View the document Household and Labor Market Linkages
View the document Formal Sector Employment
View the document Informal Sector
View the document Access to Financial Markets
View the document Access to Lund and Property
View the document Access to Extension Services
View the document Conclusion
close this folder Chapter three
View the document Public Policies Matter
View the document Equalizing Opportunities by Modifying, the Legal Framework
View the document Land and Property Rights
View the document Labor Market Policies and Employment Law
View the document Family Law
View the document Women's bargaining position in relation to household
View the document Financial Laws and Regulations
View the document Macroeconomic: Policies
View the document Inflation tends to hit women harder than men.
View the document Sectoral Investments
View the document Using Targeting Measures to Narrow the Gender
View the document Involving Beneficiaries in Public Policy
View the document Generating and Analyzing Gender-Desegregated Data
View the document Working in Collaboration
View the document Strengthening International Policies to Meet New Challenges
View the document Conclusions
View the document Notes
View the document References



TWENTY years ago in Mexico the First World Conference on Women inspired a movement that has helped to reduce gender inequality worldwide. Illiteracy among women is declining, maternal mortality and total fertility rates are beginning to fall. and more women are participating in the labor force than ever before. However. much remains to be done.

In low-income countries women are often denied health care and basic education. Worldwide. women face limited access to financial services, technology. and infrastructure. They are locked into relatively low-productivity work. In addition to performing household tasks and child-rearing duties, women work longer hours for lower pay than most men. And. most discouraging of all. hundreds of thousands of women each year are subject to gender-related violence.

Persistent inequality between women and men constrains a society's productivity and, ultimately slows its rate of economic growth. Although this problem has been generally recognized evidence on the need for corrective action is more controlling today than ever.

This report written for the Fourth World Conference on Women is intended as a reference to strategies for promoting gender equality and. consequently enhancing economic efficiency. It pulls together evidence, including case studies, that demonstrates the need for governor action to improve the economic status of women. It points out how public policy can and should support services and infrastructure that provide the highest social returns and that are most heavily used by women. The report also aims to stimulate creative solutions to the problem of gender inequality by high lilting innovative and sometimes not obvious strategies that have proved successful. A study in Morocco, for instance, shows that paving public roads to schools increases by 40 percent the probability that local girls will attend classes.

Policy reform that provides an enabling environment for economic growth goes hand in hand with investing in people. The success of one strategy draws on the success of the other. No efforts at gender equality. however, can be successful without the participation of women themselves.

As the international community gathers in Beijing for the Fourth World Conference on Women, the World Bank stands ready to assist client governments in response to the challenges ahead. The Bank believes that by advancing gender equality, governments can greatly enhance the future well-being and prosperity of their people.

Armeane M. Choksi Vice President Human Capital Development and Operations Policy The World Bank