This paper is the first in a series on Gender and Macroeconomics compiled by Raj Nallari. We will be posting them in upcoming weeks.
In this introduction, Raj makes nine main points, when discussing how to engender Macroeconomic Policies:
First, there is the need to improve gender-statistics, beginning with the inclusion of women’s contribution to the economy. We know that official GDP figures substantially underestimate the contribution of women to economic performance because women’s efforts account for 60 to 80 percent of informal sector activity. In addition, women are engaged in unpaid work, such as child care, household maintenance, subsistence farming, and care for the sick, which goes completely unrecorded.
Second, there is a growing literature which suggests that a failure to model this "non-market" sector of the economy can result in distortions in both analysis and implementation policy conclusions. The acceleration of globalization in the 1990s also stimulated an exploration of modeling techniques to capture the structural dynamics of gender relations and their effect on growth and policy outcomes. Modeling efforts are assisted by the increasing availability and improving quality of gender-disaggregated data, though much remains to be done in this area.
Third, economic assessments of the impact of price liberalization on production may benefit from taking gender considerations into account.
Fourth, there is enough evidence to indicate that women act as ‘shock absorbers’ during economic and financial crises and during economic shocks.
Fifth, achievement of gender-related MDGs requires promoting policies that differentially favor women and girls with the aim of ensuring gender equality. In this context, the issue becomes one of how to translate PRSP’s medium-term goals into annual national budgets while ensuring the MDGs. A gender focus would influence the choice of the specific expenditure or revenue instruments used to consolidate the fiscal position.
Sixth, trade policy measures affect men and women in different ways. There is some evidence to suggest that in developing countries, greater trade openness is associated with an increased share of women in paid employment, particularly in labor intensive sectors.
Seventh, women are benefiting from access to micro-finance and access to borrowing for small and medium enterprises. Also, policies on financial services liberalization could explore how to reduce the transaction costs associated with remittances, a factor which disproportionately taxes female migrants in many countries.
Eight, gender inequality is an important factor in the spread of HIV/AIDS, which in turn has had significant macroeconomic implications in affected countries.
Ninth, women suffer from inadequate property rights (land, control over other assets…..)
Read the whole paper.