Background Paper: Gender Equality and Pro-Poor Growth

Published: September 2010

This document presents information about how gender equality is not solely a fundamental human right but it is also essential for poverty reduction and sustained economic growth. Empirical evidence shows that gender-based inequalities limit both economic growth and poverty reduction. At the same time, countries that improve the status of women tend to have lower poverty inci-dence and stronger economic growth. As a result, governments can no longer afford the cost of inaction.

Key Findings

  • Increasing gender equality in households, markets and society at large contributes to increased growth directly and indirectly.
  • Rigid gender roles and divisions of labour lead to economic inefficiencies, limiting growth and poverty reduction efforts
  • Gender equality in education enhances growth by increasing the amount of human capital in a society and improving the possibility of a more efficient allocation of human resources
  • Gender equality increases growth indirectly, through increased health and education of the next generation.
  • Reducing gender inequalities in the labour market contributes to growth, pro-poor growth in particular
  • Growth as a result of higher gender equality in the labour market 'increases the size of the pie'.
  • Closing gender gaps is an effective strategy to promote growth. Evidence from studies looking at gender inequalities in employment and education combined, further strengthens the case for investing in gender equality.
  • Gender inequalities in access to economic incentives, productive resources, and time reduce productivity and output.
  • Women face barriers when establishing and managing businesses, which limit growth.
  • Gender-based violence reduces growth through lower female earnings and increased cost of health provision.

Populations Adolescent Girls, Poor, Rural, Women

Complementary Outcomes Education And Literacy, Gender-based Violence, Women's Rights

Industries Technology

Publishers Swedish International Development Cooperation (Sida)

Funded by Sida