World development report



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2012

world development report

GENDER EQUALITY

AND

DEVELOPMENT



2012

world development report

Gender Equality 

and Development

2012

world development report

Gender Equality 

and Development

© 2011 The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / The World Bank

1818 H Street NW

Washington DC 20433

Telephone: 202-473-1000

Internet: www.worldbank.org

All rights reserved

1 2 3 4  14 13 12 11 

This volume is a product of the staff of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Devel-

opment / The World Bank. The fi ndings, interpretations, and conclusions expressed in this 

volume do not necessarily refl ect the views of the Executive Directors of The World Bank or 

the governments they represent.

The World Bank does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included in this work. The 

boundaries, colors, denominations, and other information shown on any map in this work 

do not imply any judgement on the part of The World Bank concerning the legal status of any 

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All other queries on rights and licenses, including subsidiary rights, should be addressed 



to the Offi ce of the Publisher, The World Bank, 1818 H Street NW, Washington, DC 20433, 

USA; fax: 202-522-2422; e-mail: pubrights@worldbank.org.



Softcover

ISSN: 0163-5085

ISBN: 978-0-8213-8810-5

eISBN: 978-0-8213-8812-9

DOI: 10.1596/978-0-8213-8810-5

Hardcover

ISSN: 0163-5085

ISBN: 978-0-8213-8825-9

DOI: 10.1596/978-0-8213-8825-9



Cover photo: Arne Hoel, World Bank

Photo credits: Overview/World Bank, Part I/National Geographic, Part II/Kiet Vo, 

Part III/National Geographic



Cover design: Critical Stages

Figures design and infographics: Design Symphony, Cymetrics, Harkness Design, 

and Naylor Design

For the fi rts time, the World Development Report is published with a companino mobile 

app for the iPad. Key features include: access content from the WDR 2012 in multiple ways; 

browse by key messages; browse and search the report by topic, region, and keyboard; access 

the report overview and key messages document, both available in 7 languages; share and 

save features; and view tabular data from the report. For more information, visit bit.ly/

wdr2012app.



v

Contents

Foreword  

xiii

Acknowledgments 

 xv

Abbreviations and data notes   

xvii

Main 

messages  

xx

Overview  

2

Why does gender equality matter for development?   

2

What does this Report do?   



6

Where has there been the most progress in gender equality?   

8

Where have gender inequalities persisted and why?   



13

What is to be done?   

22

The political economy of reforms for gender equality   



35

A global agenda for greater gender equality   

36

Notes 


 38

References 

 40

Introduction: A guide to the Report   

46

Gender equality and development: Why do the links matter?   

46

What does this Report do?   



48

Navigating this Report: A roadmap   

50

Notes  


51

References  

51

Part I  Taking stock of gender equality   

54

1  A wave of progress   

56

Times are changing?   

56

Rising global consensus for women’s rights   



57

Better outcomes for women in many domains   

59

Change begets change   



66

Notes 


 69

References 

 69


vi

 

C O N T E N T S



2  The persistence of gender inequality   

72

Severely disadvantaged populations   

73

“Sticky” domains, despite economic progress   



76

Reversals 

 85

“Sticky” 



gets 

“stickier” 

 87

Notes  


88

References  

89

Spread 1  Women’s pathways to empowerment: Do all roads lead to Rome?   

94

Notes 


 97

References 

 97

Part II   What has driven progress? What 

impedes 

it? 

 98

Explaining the framework   

99

Applying the framework   



101

Notes 


 102

References 

 102

3  Education and health: Where do gender differences 

really 

matter?  

104

Endowments 

matter 

 105


Education 

 106


Health 

 117


Technical Annex 3.1   Computing the fl ow of missing girls at birth and excess 

female mortality after birth   

139

Chapter summary:  In reducing gender gaps in education and health, 



tremendous progress has been made where lifting a single barrier—in 

households, markets, or institutions—is suffi cient to improve outcomes. 

Progress has been slower either where multiple barriers need to be lifted 

at the same time or where a single point of entry produces bottlenecks   

141

Notes 


 142

References 

 143

4  Promoting women’s agency   

150

Women’s agency matters   

151 

Economic growth can promote women’s agency but has limited impact   



152

Rights and their effective implementation shape women’s choices and 

voices 

 157


Social norms prevent—or promote—gains in women’s agency   

168


Women’s collective agency can shape institutions, markets, and social 

norms 


 176

Chapter summary: Women continue to have less capacity than men to 

exercise 

agency 


 181

 

Contents

 

vii

Notes  

182


References  

184


Spread 2  The decline of the breadwinner: Men in the 21st century   

194

Note 


 196

5   Gender differences in employment and 

why they matter    198

Understanding gender differences in productivity and earnings   

201

What explains employment segregation by gender? A fi 



rst 

look  


210

Gender, time use, and employment segregation   

215

Gender differences in access to productive inputs and 



employment 

segregation 

 224

Gender impacts of “aggregate” market and institutional failures 



  230

Breaking out of the productivity trap: How and why to do it   

236

Chapter summary: Persistent employment segregation by gender traps women 



in low-productivity, low-paying jobs   

239


Notes 

 240 


References 

 242


6   Globalization’s impact on gender equality: 

What’s happened and what’s needed   

254

The world is becoming more integrated—Recent trends and facts   

255

Trade openness and ICTs have increased women’s access to economic 



opportunities 

 255


Adapt or miss the boat   

264


Globalization could also promote more egalitarian gender roles and norms   

267


Old problems, emerging risks   

269


Is the glass half full or half empty? The need for public action   

271


Chapter summary: Globalization has the potential to contribute to greater 

gender 


equality 

 271


Notes 

 272


References 

 273


Spread 3   Changing ages, changing bodies, changing times—Adolescent boys 

and girls   

280

Note  


283

Part III  The role of and potential for public action   

284

Choosing the right policies   

285

Enabling policy implementation   



285

The global agenda for action   

286

7  Public action for gender equality   

288

Policies to reduce gaps in health and education   

289

Policies to improve economic opportunities   



296

viii

 

C O N T E N T S

Policies to improve women’s agency   

305


Avoiding the reproduction of gender inequalities across generations for 

adolescents and young adults   

314

Making gender-smart policies: Focusing “gender mainstreaming”   



317

Wanted: Better evidence   

320

Notes 


 321

References 

 323

8  The political economy of gender reform   

330

Informal institutions—Social networks as agents of change   

332

Inclusive 



markets 

 340


Bringing gender into formal institutions and policies   

345


Seizing windows of opportunities   

348


Pathways to change   

350


Notes 

 354


References  

355


9  A global agenda for greater gender equality   

360

Rationale for and focus of a global agenda   

360

What to do and how to do it   



362

Notes 


 370

References 

 371 

Bibliographical 



Note  

373


Background Papers and Notes   

377


Selected 

Indicators 

 381

Selected World Development Indicators   



389 

Index 


 411

Boxes

 

1  What do we mean by gender equality?   



4

 

2  The Millennium Development Goals recognize the intrinsic 



and instrumental value of gender equality   

4

 



3  How women and men defi ne gender in the 21st 

century 


 7

 

4  What do we mean by markets, formal institutions, and 



informal social institutions?   

8

 



5  Reducing maternal mortality—What works? Look at 

Malaysia and Sri Lanka   

25

 

6  Catalyzing female employment in Jordan   



29

 

7  Intervening early to overcome future labor market failures—



The Adolescent Girls Initiative   

34

  0.1  Problems with estimating the effect of gender equality on 



growth 

 49


  1.1  Gender and the Millennium Development Goals   

58

  2.1  The many faces of climate change   



86

  3.1  Adult mortality risks: Who are the outliers?   

119

 3.2 Four 



Africas 

 135


 

Contents

 

ix

  4.1  Pensions—Coverage, amounts, and survivor benefi ts are 

important for women’s autonomy   

156

  4.2  Property in marriage (and divorce)   



162

  4.3  Widows risk losing their assets but might gain some 

freedom 

 163


  4.4  Legal pluralism and its prevalence   

165


  4.5  What does it mean to be a “good wife” and a “good 

husband”? 

 

 172


  4.6  Masculinity and its impact on roles, preferences, and 

behaviors 

 173

  4.7  Why do social norms persist?   



174

  4.8  How stereotypes infl 

uence 

performance 



 175

  5.1  Closing the access gap—Recent advances in female labor 

force 

participation 



 199

  5.2  Women in the boardroom   

204

  5.3  Gender discrimination in hiring? Evidence from employment 



audit studies    

205


  5.4  What do we mean by employment segregation by 

gender? 


 

 206


  5.5  Good jobs and bad jobs: What are they and who does 

them? 


 211

  5.6  The seeds of segregation are planted early—How gender 

differences in education trajectories shape employment 

segregation  

216

  5.7  Overview of data used in analyzing gender differences in time 



use 

patterns  

218

  5.8  What did you do all day? Perceptions on time use patterns of 



the opposite sex   

221


  5.9  Gender of the household head versus household 

composition: What matters most for policy?   

225

  5.10  Family formation and public sector employment in 



Egypt 

 232


  5.11  The business case for gender equality   

238


  6.1  A job today or a better job tomorrow—The impact of 

increased access to economic opportunities on women’s 

human capital    

258


  6.2  The impact of globalization on men (and women) in 

developed 

countries 

 259


  6.3  Occupational tasks and skill requirements—Getting the 

terms 


right 

 259


  6.4  Leveraging mobile and ICT technology to improve access to 

services  

264

  6.5  Globalization and working conditions—Some progress, but 



more needs to be done 

267


  7.1  Improving water supply: Dakar and Phnom Penh   

291


  7.2  Reducing maternal mortality: What Malaysia and Sri Lanka 

have 


done 

 295


  7.3  Protecting men and women and boys and girls from income 

shocks 


 296

  7.4  Catalyzing female employment in Jordan   

301

  7.5  Innovative approaches to expanding access to fi nance for 



women and entrepreneurs   

303


  7.6  Including women’s voice in peace and postconfl ict 

reconstruction 

processes 

 308


  8.1  Georgia—Evolving gender roles in a new society   

332


  8.2  Feminism in perspective   

334


  8.3  Competing interests—Caste, ethnic, and religious politics 

and 


gender 

 335


  8.4  More women in public offi ce—The Namibian Women’s 

Manifesto Network    

335

  8.5  Differences among women about their right to vote—



The case of Switzerland   

336


  8.6  Domestic workers in Brazil   

337


  8.7  How popular culture can change social attitudes    

339


  8.8  Four good practices for greater gender diversity   

342


  8.9  Land titling in Peru—Using a gender lens for a gender-

neutral 


program 

 346


  8.10  Gender machineries in practice   

347


  8.11  Courts and constitutional challenges in Uganda’s divorce 

law 


 348

  8.12  Fiji: International norms as a driver of gender equality in 

family 

law 


 349

  8.13  Changing social norms from the bottom up   

352

  8.14  Tunisia—Women’s voice and women’s rights   



353

  8.15  Sweden—Encouraging an involved fatherhood 

  353

Figures

 

1  Gender outcomes result from interactions between 



households, markets, and institutions   

9

 



2  Across the world, women are having fewer children   

9

 



3  Gender parity in enrollments at lower levels has been 

achieved in much of the world, but tertiary enrollments are 

very low and favor women    

10

 



4  Using the framework to explain progress in 

education 

 11

 

5  Female labor force participation has increased over time at 



all income levels   

12

 



6  Low-income countries lag behind in realizing progress in 

female school enrollment   

13

 

7  Female disadvantage within countries is more marked at 



low 

incomes 


 14

 

8  Women and men work in different sectors   



16

 

9  Explaining persistent segregation and earnings gaps   



18

x

 

C O N T E N T S

  10  Across the world, women spend more hours per day on care 

and housework than men   

19

  11  Gender differences in agricultural productivity disappear 



when access to and use of productive inputs are taken into 

account  

20

 B0.1  GDP per capita and gender equality are positively 



correlated 

 49


  1.1  Gender parity in enrollments at lower levels has been 

achieved in much of the world, and tertiary enrollments 

now favor women   

61

  1.2  Gender explains little of the inequality in education 



participation for children 12–15 years old   

63

  1.3  Women are living longer than men   



64

  1.4  What took the United States 100 years took India 40 and 

the Islamic Republic of Iran 10    

64

  1.5  Gender explains little of the inequality in use of preventive 



health 

services 

 65

  1.6  The gender gap in labor force participation narrowed 



between 1980 and 2008   

66

  1.7  Across countries, at every income level, female labor force 



participation increased  between 1980 and 2008   

66

  1.8   Who agrees that a university education is more important for 



a boy than for a girl?   

68

  1.9  Who agrees that when jobs are scarce, men should have more 



right to a job than women?   

68

  2.1  Female enrollments remain strikingly low in some 



countries 

 73


  2.2  In some countries, female disadvantage augments at lower 

incomes . . .   

74

  2.3  . . . yet in others, at low levels of wealth girls stay longer in 



school than boys   

75

  2.4  At low incomes, fertility rates remain high—And the poorer 



the country, the larger the gap between rich and poor    

76

  2.5  Maternal mortality in many developing countries is similar to 



that in Sweden before 1900   

78

  2.6  Women are more likely than men to work in the informal 



sector 

 

 79



  2.7  Women and men work in different sectors (and different 

occupations) 

 80

  2.8  Across the world, women spend more hours each day on 



housework and care than men . . . and men spend more time 

in market activities   

81

  2.9  Who controls women’s own income?   



82

  2.10  Perceptions in many nations are that wife-beating is 

justifi 

able 


 83

  2.11  There is great heterogeneity in rates of domestic violence 

reported across nations   

84

  2.12  Men are perceived as better political leaders than 



women 

 85


  3.1  Gender parity in enrollments at lower levels has been 

achieved in much of the world, but tertiary enrollments are 

very low and favor women   

107


  3.2  In most countries with moderate or high total inequality in 

educational outcomes, less than one-fi fth of inequality stems 

from 

gender  


108

  3.3  What explains progress in school enrollments?   

109

  3.4  Free primary education reduced gender gaps in 



enrollments 

 110


  3.5  Cross-country differences in mean scores on the 2009 PISA 

dwarf gender differences within countries   

114

  3.6  Adult and child mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa   



118

  3.7  Adult mortality: Over time and by sex   

119

  3.8  Income growth did not reduce excess female mortality during 



1990–2008 in low- and middle-income countries   

123


  3.9  Why are so many girls missing at birth?   

124


  3.10  There is little or no gender disadvantage in vaccination rates, 

nutrition outcomes, or use of health services when a child 

falls 

sick  


126

 

  Small differences do not explain the variation in the fraction 



of excess deaths across countries   

126


  3.11  Men and women, boys and girls, are treated the same when 

they visit health facilities   

127

  3.12  Levels of excess female childhood mortality in high-income 



countries in the early 1900s were similar to those of low- and 

middle-income countries today . . .    

128

 

  . . . and the excess female mortality declined with reduction in 



overall childhood mortality   

128


  3.13  Maternal mortality ratios declined steeply in selected 

countries during 1930–60   

129

  3.14  High income countries today had excess female mortality 



at the reproductive ages during the fi rst half of the 

20th century . . .   

130

 

  . . . and the excess mortality at all income levels declines with 



reductions in maternal mortality   

130


  3.15  What explains excess mortality among girls and women in 

the reproductive ages?   

131

  3.16  Excess female mortality by age in four countries with high 



HIV 

prevalence 

 132

  3.17  In some countries, there is excess male mortality   



133

 3A.1  Sex ratio and age-specifi c mortality, 2008   

139

 3A.2  Excess female mortality globally at each age in 2008 using 



various reference groups   

140


  4.1  Witnessing violence as a child is associated with perpetrating 

violence as an adult    

152

  4.2  Limited progress in women’s agency is explained by mutually 



reinforcing constraints in markets, formal institutions, and 

informal 

institutions  

153


  4.3  Richer women marry later    

154


  4.4  Women’s control is greater in wealthier households   

155


 

Contents

 


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