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February 2019

Moving towards gender equality: A new index looks at legal reforms to help women’s economic inclusion

Sarah Iqbal's picture
Also available in: العربية | Español | Français

Do you think the world is becoming more equal for women at work? The recently published Women, Business and the Law 2019: A Decade of Reform gives us some insight. While achieving gender equality requires a broad range of efforts over time, the study focuses on the law as an important first step to providing an objective measure of how specific regulations affect women’s incentives to participate in economic activity.

What is captured in the Women, Business and the Law index?

The study introduces a new index structured around eight indicators that cover different stages of a woman’s working life, which have significant implications for the economic standing of women: Going Places, Starting a Job, Getting Paid, Getting Married, Having Children, Running a Business, Managing Assets and Getting a Pension.

8 Indicators that Measure How Laws Affect Women Through Their Working Lives

Source: Women, Business and the Law 2019: A Decade of Reform

For instance, if a woman cannot leave her home without permission can she effectively look for a job or go on an interview? Even if she is hired, will she need to quit if she gets married or has children? Will she have to move to a lower paying job because she must balance work with caring for her family?

New Mali survey data now available!

Marco Tiberti's picture
Photo © Dominic Chavez/World Bank

The second edition of the Enquête Agricole de Conjoncture Intégrée aux Conditions de Vie des Ménages (EAC-I 17)—a nationally representative household survey covering a range of topics including agriculture, demography, education, food security, labor, livestock, savings, shocks—is now available.

For this survey, 8,390 households were visited twice each between 2017 and 2018, during post-planting and post-harvest periods of the agricultural season. Particular attention was paid to the measurement of agricultural income, a long-sought goal of the Ministry of Agriculture.

Overall findings:

  • Agriculture: 70% of households do not use improved seed varieties or phytosanitary products, and 44% of agricultural households use inorganic fertilizers.
  • Credit: The primary reasons for taking out loans are, 1) to buy farm inputs, and 2) to help meet household consumption requirements.
  • Education: There is a large educational gap between urban and rural populations. Around 75% of individuals aged 15–39 years are uneducated in rural areas, while only 29% are, in urban areas.
  • Employment: Agriculture is the greatest source of employment in rural areas. Over 96 % of individuals aged 15–39 years are in fact employed in agriculture.
  • Income: Crop production is by far the most important source of income, accounting for almost 50% of total income, followed by transfers (18%), and livestock and non-agricultural wages (12%).
  • Livestock: Livestock are mainly kept for their income-generating by-products and their ability to work the fields.
  • Labor: Household labor represents 92% of total labor farm labor.

Like manna from heaven? The sustainability of Open Source projects

Michael M. Lokshin's picture

Sustainability of OSS is an important, but often overlooked issue. The private sector is struggling to find the right model to maintain and sustain OSS. The International Development Agencies need viable long-term strategies to sustain the OSS projects they are developing, funding, or using.

Two young colleagues invited me for coffee to discuss their proposal to develop an open source software (OSS) system for administering government programs in developing countries. The idea of replacing costly, custom-built proprietary systems with open-source solutions tailored for specific country requirements was very appealing.

“Why pay millions of dollars for a proprietary solution when an open source system will be free?” exclaimed one of the colleagues.

I inquired cautiously, “Have you considered how to maintain these systems once they are deployed? Who will pay for customization and on-going support to the country clients? How do you consistently ensure the quality of the code?”

“The international OSS community will volunteer their time to maintain and improve these systems.” was the reply.

5 things you didn't know you could do with the Gender Data Portal

World Bank Gender Data Team's picture

Our Gender Data Portal is the World Bank Group’s comprehensive source for historical and current data disaggregated by sex. This data site brings together high-quality, curated data on women and men (and girls and boys) in an easy-to-use platform that covers a wide range of topics such as demography, education, health, economic opportunities, public life and decision-making, and agency. The Gender Data Portal is the go-to place for reliable data disaggregated by sex for countries and regions around the world.

Here are 5 things you can do in our Gender Data Portal:

  1. Easily access data

Time-series data can be downloaded by typing the name of the indicator of interest, exploring the list of indicators, through the data query in DataBank, and the Application Programing Indicators (APIs). Users can also download bulk versions of the database in Excel and CSV.

Improving the pathway from school to STEM careers for girls and women

Eliana Rubiano-Matulevich's picture
Also available in: العربية | Español

The launch of the Human Capital Project has galvanized global action to close human capital gaps, and has highlighted the importance of investments in the knowledge, skills, and health that people accumulate throughout their lives, to realize their potential as productive members of society.

Improving both the quantity and quality of education is pivotal to empowering young people to fulfill their potential. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education is critical not only for fulfilling the needs of the future workforce, but also for producing researchers and innovators who can help to solve intractable challenges.

The underrepresentation of women and girls in STEM gets a lot of attention, but the data on access to, and quality of, education shows that the story is more nuanced.

At primary school level globally, there is gender parity in both enrollment and completion–a remarkable achievement of recent times. Gender gaps emerge in a number of low-income countries, mostly in Sub-Saharan Africa, and in some Latin American countries there are ‘reverse’ gender gaps (with boys less likely to attend or complete primary school). Overall, gender gaps (where they exist) are modest in comparison to the gaps between rich and low-income countries.

When it comes to academic performance, girls often do as well as, or better than, boys in science and mathematics.

In primary schools, there are no gender differences in science achievement in more than half of the 47 countries where performance is measured (Figure 1). Girls score higher than boys in 26 percent of the countries. The difference in achievement is almost three-times higher when girls score more than boys compared to when boys score more than girls. Results for mathematics achievement are similar. There are no gender differences in about half of the countries with data, but boys score better than girls in 37 percent of the countries.

Figure 1: Primary-school girls perform as well as boys in science and mathematics

Source: TIMSS 2015 Assessment Frameworks. Data for 4th graders in 47 countries. Box plots show the first quartile, median and third quartile of the test scores. The whiskers correspond to the minimum and maximum scores. Outliers are represented by a dot.

Family spending on education: a new guidebook on measurement

Friedrich Huebler's picture

 

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A new guidebook published by the World Bank and the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) casts light on how to measure the heavy burden of education spending that falls on the world’s families. Measuring Household Expenditure on Education: A Guidebook for Designing Household Survey Questionnaires will help countries report on SDG 4 indicator 4.5.4: education expenditure per student by level of education and source of funding. The guidebook also aims to ensure proper representation of education expenditures in consumption-based poverty and inequality measures, and enable more micro-econometric research on resource allocation in households.

The burden of education spending by families

We already know that the burden on families can be heavy. UIS data released in 2017 found that families in low-income countries pay more for their children’s education: households in many developing countries spend a far greater share of average GDP per capita on education than those in developed countries. Household spending on secondary education amounts to 20-25% of average GDP per person in Benin, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, and Niger, and more than 30% in Togo. In stark contrast, the share does not exceed 5% in almost all high-income countries.

The data also reveal that families—including the poorest—are providing much of the world’s education spending. For example, households provide about one-quarter of education expenditure in Viet Nam, one-third in Côte d’Ivoire, half in Nepal, and more than half in Uganda.

Measuring the statistical capacity of nations

Michael M. Lokshin's picture

Improving the capacity of national statistical systems (NSSs) has long been a part of the global development agenda. The NSSs play an important role in modern economies. They provide stakeholders, ranging from policy makers to stock market analysts and the general public, with the data on the country’s socioeconomic developments. At the international level, monitoring global initiatives such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) requires high-quality data that are produced consistently across different national statistical systems.

In 2004, the World Bank developed the Statistical Capacity Index (SCI) to measure progress in statistical capacity building. The SCI was based on publicly available data and was designed to assess a country’s statistical capacity in an internationally comparable and cost-effective manner. Several international and national agencies have adopted the SCI for measuring progress in statistical capacity building and related investments (United Nations, 2016).