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March 2013

Are fast-track quotas necessary and sufficient for gender equality in the Middle East & North Africa?

Nina Bhatt's picture

        Dana Smilie

As I write from Sana’a, I am thinking “ten percent is not enough.” Few would disagree that more women should be represented in legislatures across the Middle East and North Africa. Yet the best ways to achieve improved outcomes is still being debated.

Smart Economy = Laws that are Tailored to Women as much as Men

Mohammad Amin's picture

The surest way to empower women, close the gender gap, and ensure women’s participation in the development of their economy is through enabling equal job opportunities and employment for women.  Recent efforts such as the Women, Business and the Law (WBL) project show that labor laws do vary between men and women. As we will see in three studies below, the law has an incredibly significant role in understanding female employment.

Eliminating gender disparity in laws leads to higher levels of female employment

The first study finds that gender disparity in the laws favoring males over females tends to lower the employment level of females relative to males, a result driven by employment in small and medium firms. The study uses a broad measure of gender discrimination in laws across 66 developing countries using the World Bank Group projects: WBL data and the Enterprise Surveys data to measure female employment in the private sector.

Weekly Wire: the Global Forum

Kalliope Kokolis's picture

These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week

Biz Community
How to speed up change for women in the workplace

“The theme of International Women's Day 2013, on 8 March, is "The Gender Agenda: Gaining Momentum". There are many signs of this momentum in Africa - from female entrepreneurship, which is driving growth in the region, to the fact there are female government ministers or heads of state in South Africa, Ghana, Liberia, Malawi and Rwanda.

In fact, Rwanda, with 56% of seats in its House of Deputies held by women, is currently the only government in the world dominated by women, putting the East African country well ahead of the United States, United Kingdom and Japan, which all fall below the 25% mark.

So, there is momentum, but not enough of it. For instance, the global downturn appears to have worsened gender gaps in employment, according to the International Labour Organisation.”  READ MORE

One additional African migrant creates about USD 2,800 (a year) in additional exports for his/her country of origin

Raju Jan Singh's picture

Standard trade literature tends to view migration and trade as substitutes. In that framework, either workers migrate to satisfy foreign demand or foreign demand is satisfied by trading goods and services. There is a growing literature, however, emphasizing that migrant networks facilitate bilateral economic transactions by disseminating their preferences for goods from their country of origin and/or by removing informational and cultural barriers between hosts and origin countries. In this case, migration would reduce transaction costs associated with trade and may be a complement rather than a substitute to trade.

Introducing the Africa Gender Innovation Lab

Markus Goldstein's picture

Today I wanted to take the opportunity to talk about a new initiative that the Africa Region and the Research Group at the World Bank are launching today.   The idea here is that we don't know enough about how to effectively address the underlying causes of gender inequality. Let me start by explaining what I mean by underlying causes.    Take the case of female farmers.    There is a lot of literature out there which shows that women have lower agricultural yields than men.   And some of it shows that this is because women have lo

"Mobile Money" Helps Kenya's Informal Workers Save for Retirement

Patricia Odera's picture

In recent years, Kenya has turned to a new mobile phone-based money transfer service to reach out to the 85 percent of the total work force that isn't covered by a registered retirement plan. The Retirement Benefits Authority (RBA) hopes that the Mbao Pension Plan can help members of informal sector associations save for retirement.  We recently spoke with Patricia Odera, a Senior Corporate Communications Officer for the RBA, who explains how the plan carefully targets informal sector workers.

Yemen at the midpoint to its new future

Wael Zakout's picture
        World Bank | Scott Wallace

This month marks the midpoint of the transition process in Yemen. As agreed upon in the peace initiative in November 2011, the transition will include a national dialogue that brings together a broad geographic and political cross section of the country, the drafting of a new constitution, and concluding with new parliamentary and presidential elections.

The Role of Men in the Economic and Social Development of Women

Lídia Farré's picture

A commitment to gender equality in economic outcomes, as in other areas of social development and human rights, has emphasized women's empowerment. There is evidence that expanding woman's opportunities - particularly in the areas of health, education, earnings, civic rights, and political participation - decreases gender inequality and accelerates development. However, despite important advances towards equality, gender differences in many socioeconomic outcomes still persist. In light of this, policy makers and social scientists have shifted attention to the role of men in reducing gender disparities.