Updated: Dec 10, 2020
There are many global studies that link gender inequality and economic growth rates. The World Bank and International Monetary Fund are two major financial institutions that not only recognize the importance of gender equality but have also allocated studies to identify how it can improve alongside economic factors. Both institutions have released many reports around the subject of gender and economics. “Gender equality is a critical component of economic growth” (World Bank, 2019). “Countries can reap benefits from closing gender gaps. It boosts economic growth, reduces income inequality, and strengthens economic resilience” (IMF, 2017).
Just a few examples of IFI’s gender equality efforts include an IMF 2017 study that outlined five ways to help countries “assess and adapt their policies” (IMF, 2017) to be more gender inclusive: 1.)Female labor force participation: Strengthening analysis and policy advice; 2.) Financial inclusion: Data collection on access to and use of financial services; 3.) Gender Budgeting: Analyzing the fiscal and budgetary impact; 4.) Legal barriers: Study and identify the impact of discriminatory laws; 5.) Research and analysis: Conduct further research and publish new studies (IMF, 2017). A year later, the IMF released a study that stated a greater inclusion of women in the finance sector could lead to “more effective monetary and fiscal policy” (IMF, 2018).
The World Bank conducted a 10-year study titled, Women, Business and the Law 2019: A Decade of Reform. The research aimed to “develop a better understanding of how women’s employment and entrepreneurship are affected by legal discrimination and examines ten years of data through an index structured around the economic decisions women make as they go through their working lives” (World Bank, 2019). Research found that some regions had made significant strides in closing gender gaps while others needed much work. “Much improvement has occurred over the past decade, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa where the pace of reform is increasing, but persistent gaps remain. However, in the Middle East and North Africa, the pace of reform is occurring so slowly that the legal gender gap is only increasing as other regions reform at a faster pace” (World Bank, 2019).
In addition to IFI efforts, the United Nations released two documents that addressed the discrimination against women and gender inclusivity: UN Security Council Resolution 2122 21and the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women's (CEDAW) General Recommendation No. 30 on women in conflict prevention, conflict and post-conflict situations(Charlesworth & Chinkin, 175). These documents collectively create a foundational framework to grow new policies and reflect the U.N.’s pledge to promoting gender equality. “Matters of violence against women in conflict have, then, become almost staple items on the agenda of United Nations' organs, agencies and special procedures. They have prompted resolutions, declarations, reports, the appointment of high-level experts and attention from human rights treaty bodies” (Charlesworth & Chinkin, 176).
"5 Things You Need to Know About the IMF and Gender." IMF Blog. November 22, 2017. Accessed April 15, 2019.https://blogs.imf.org/2017/11/22/5-things-you-need-to-know-about-the-imf-and-gender/.
Charlesworth, Hilary, and Christine Chinkin. Imagining Law: Essays in Conversation with Judith Gardam. University of Adelaide Press, 2016.
"Gender and IMF." Gender and IMF, Gender in the Workforce. 2018. Accessed April 22, 2019. https://www.imf.org/external/themes/gender/.
Women, Business and the Law 2019. Report. World Bank. Washington, DC: World Bank Group, 2019. 1-36.