We continue with our new course on Gender and Macroeconomic Policy, as usual based on Raj Nallari and Breda Griffith's lecture notes.
Gender and Macroeconomics
Despite the improvements made in recognizing gender as an analytical category at the microeconomic level, the macroeconomic implications of gender remained underdeveloped until recently. Ça?atay (Engendering Macroeconomics and Macroeconomic Policies, 1998) identifies three reasons for the emergence of interest in macroeconomics and gender:
(i) it was increasingly recognized from the 1970s that economic development had generally affected women differently than men in the developing world
(ii) it was recognized that the direction of causation between the macro-economy and gender could go both ways, i.e. gender relations affect macroeconomic outcomes and macroeconomic outcomes affect gender relations
(iii) feminists in the 1980s pointed out that macroeconomic policies being implemented in the developing world in the context of structural adjustment policies were not gender neutral
In other words, it was increasingly recognized amongst the academic and policy community that a better understanding of macroeconomic outcomes for development and growth required gender-informed macroeconomic policies and models. Benería (1995) cites Boserup’s (1970) book Women’s Role in Economic Development as one of the first studies to suggest that development policies were oftentimes gender-biased. Engendering macroeconomics relies upon the inclusion of gender as an analytical category in macroeconomic policy models. Yet progress on this level has been slow, in spite of empirical findings on the effects of gender inequalities for development and growth.
Although the studies in the 1970s sought to engender development, most of the work was typical of the ‘add women and stir approach’ and failed to raise feminist questions (Benería, 1995). This shortcoming was addressed by studies during the 1980s that focused on the issues of gender relations and inequality. The studies pursued a micro, interdisciplinary approach that nevertheless had implications for the macro-economy, growth and development.
Gender Inequalities and Women
Gender equality was identified by the World Bank in its 2001 study Engendering Development as a core development issue and a development objective in its own right. Evidence referenced and discussed in this report points to the significant social and economic costs for economic growth and development that arise from rigid gender roles and associated gender asymmetries.