As usual on Fridays, based on Raj Nallari and Breda Griffith's lecture notes.
Gender and Macroeconomics
Disaggregating indicators of well-being by gender informs on the level of gender equality or inequality at a given time for a given place. When we examine gender issues we are interested in the meaning of these gender equalities or inequalities and their implications for development, both at the personal level and at the level of the economy.
As noted by the WB (2001), foremost among the costs of gender inequality is its toll on human lives and the quality of those lives. Some of the findings from this report are summarized here.
- Societies with large, persistent gender inequalities pay the price of more poverty, malnutrition, illness and other deprivations.
WB 2001 cites the examples of excessively high female mortality rates in China, Korea and South Asia and links this to the social norms in these countries that favor sons. The results have been an estimated 60-100 million fewer women alive today because of gender discrimination.
- Mother’s illiteracy and lack of schooling directly disadvantage their young children.
Children are disadvantaged in terms of poorer quality of care, higher infant and child malnutrition and mortality. Data from WB 2001 indicate that child immunization rates rise with mother’s education.
- Additional household income in the hands of women is more likely to benefit children directly.
When a woman controls a household’s resources, she is more likely to spend more on necessities and on the development of her children compared to a man in a similar situation.
- Gender inequalities in schooling and urban jobs accelerate the spread of HIV.
Data from WB 2001 suggest that HIV infection rates are higher when the gap between male and female literacy rates are wider. Moreover, according to this same source, ‘the AIDS epidemic will spread rapidly over the next decade – until up to one in four women and one in five men become HIV infected, already the case in several countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (WB, 2001; p. 9).
- Gender norms and stereotypes impose costs on males.
In the former transition countries, men have experienced higher mortality rates associated with increased stress and anxiety due to rapidly worsening unemployment among men (WB, 2001; p. 10).