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close this bookToward Gender Equality: The Role of Public Policy (WB, 1995, 88 p.)
close this folderDefinitions and Data Notes
View the documentDefinitions
View the documentData Notes
View the documentSummary
View the documentProgress to Date
View the documentWhy Do Gender Inequalities Persist?
View the documentStrategies for the Future


THREE messages echo throughout this document:

· The causes of gender inequality are complex, linked as they are to the intrahousehold decisionmaking process. However the decisions are made. the intrahousehold allocation of resources is influenced by market signals and institutional norms that do not capture the full benefits to society of investing in women. Low levels of education and training. poor health and nutritional status, and limited access to resources depress women's quality of life and hinder economic efficiency and growth.

· It is therefore essential that public policies work to compensate for market failures in the area of gender equality. These policies should equalize opportunities between women and men and redirect resources to those investments with the highest social returns. Of these investments. female education, particularly at the primary and lower-secondary level, is the most important, as it is the catalyst that increases the impact of other investments in health, nutrition, family planning, agriculture, industry, and infrastructure.

· Women themselves are agents for change because they play a key role in shaping the welfare of future generations. Public policies cannot be effective without the participation of the target group-in this case. women, who make up more than half the world's people. Their views need to be incorporated into policy formulation.