makingit_20_pp16-19_UNwomen.qxp_print 16/11/2015 15:29 Page 17
Does gender equality contribute to growth? In UN Women’s report, Progress of the World’s Women 2015-2016: Transforming economies, realizing rights, the authors argue that improving substantive equality for women and realizing their human rights require a rethinking of macroeconomics Macroeconomic policy typically focuses on raising the level of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as its primary policy goal, with the expansion of GDP (growth) used as a measure of economic progress. However, broader economic and social outcomes may be more important to improving the lives that women and men are able to lead, including through enabling good health, access to education, decent employment opportunities, freedom from violence and a secure place to live. Alternative frameworks for evaluating progress – such as human rights or human development – emphasize what people are able to do or become in the course of their lives. Increases in GDP are important only as a means to better social outcomes, including greater gender equality. Researchers and policymakers have started to pay greater attention to the relationship between gender equality and economic growth. For example, recent evidence on the relationship between
gender inequality in education and GDP levels and growth suggests that more equality in schooling is positively associated with GDP, at least for lower- and middleincome countries. Reducing inequalities in schooling and raising the average level of women’s education appears to support better economic performance, as measured by GDP per capita, and enhance individual productive capacities. Comparing the figure for the ratio of female-to-male secondary school enrolment against per capita income, illustrates the positive relationship between the level of GDP and gaps in educational attainment. The ratio increases with average income, but as it approaches parity the relationship flattens out. This indicates that the relationship between the secondary school enrolment ratio and per capita income is different for low-income and high-income countries. As a general rule, greater equality in education is associated with higher levels of GDP. However, at ➤
Published on Nov 23, 2015
Steady prosperity has not been achieved throughout the world and there remain remarkable differences between and within regions, countries a...