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The economic empowerment of women and development'


The economic empowerment of women and development. By Katleen Van den Broeck ... Penalisation of HDI for gender differences occurs in all groups of HDI! ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The economic empowerment of women and development'

The economic empowerment of women and development.
  • By Katleen Van den Broeck
  • Danida Development Days
  • June 12, 2007

  • Gender empowerment situation
  • Constraints faced by women
  • Development effects of empowerment of women
  • Some initiatives to soften womens constraints

1. Gender empowerment situation
  • Statistics from Human Development Report 2006
  • - produced in November 2006
  • - most numbers based on 2004 data
  • Since 1990 Human Development Index (HDI)
  • - extension to GDP as a measure of wealth
  • - based on 3 pillars to capture human
  • living a long and healthy life (life expectancy)
  • knowledge (literacy and gross enrolment in prim,
    sec, ter)
  • having a decent standard of living
    (GDP/capita-PPP US)

  • In 1995 introduction of Gender-related
    Development Index (GDI) and Gender Empowerment
    Measure (GEM).
  • GDI (should be used together with HDI!)
  • - adjustment of HDI to penalise for gender
    differences in the 3 areas
  • GEM
  • - captures gender differences in 3 dimensions
    political participation, decision making power,
    command over economic resources ( seats in
    parliament, of legislators, senior officials,
    managers are female, technical and professional
    workers are female, estimated female/male income)
  • gt used as monitoring tools for gender-related

GDI examples
  • Note interpretation of GDI! A 0 in column 3 does
    not mean no gender inequalities but only no
    change of HDI rank when taking into account
    gender inequalities
  • Penalisation of HDI for gender differences occurs
    in all groups of HDI!

Gender Empowerment Measure examples
  • Highest ratio of estimated female to male earned
    income 0.83 in Kenya, followed by 0.81 in Sweden
    and in Mozambique
  • Lowest ratio 0.15 (Saudi Arabia)
  • gt Income earning/activity constraints for women?

  • Smith et al (2003) constructed an index of
    womens intra-household relative decision-making
    and societal inequality using data from 40
    countries (data from DHS Surveys). IFPRI Study.
  • Their results show that women have lowest status
    in South Asia, then Sub-Saharan Africa, then
    Latin-America and the Caribbean
  • The 10 lowest ranking in their study (in terms of
    low relative decision-making power of women) 1.
    Bangladesh, 2. Nepal, 3. India, 4. Chad, 5.
    Mozambique, 6. Mali, 7. Niger, 8. Pakistan, 9.
    Malawi, 10. Côte dIvoire

2. Constraints faced by women
  • Human capital
  • Lower level of education
  • Health risks
  • Time use
  • Lower amount of time available for income
    earning reproductive tasks and traditional role
  • Resource use
  • access to land
  • access to credit

Human capital
  • Lower level of education (but closing gap)

Human capital
  • 2. Health risks
  • Maternal health In developing countries only
    59 of births attended by skilled health
    personnel, in least developed countries 36
  • Life expectancy decreases due to HIV/AIDS
    especially for women (feminisation of HIV/AIDS in
    SSA) reverse life expectancy gap expected in SA
    from 2008 onwards
  • Domestic violence
  • Distribution of scarce family resources women
    and children suffer most from micronutrient
    deficiencies (although they have higher needs-for
    reproduction, growth) gender differences in
    health expenditures, hospital admissions,…
  • gt lower levels of human capital may prevent
    women to enter certain activities or to be as
    productive as men in the activities

Time use
  • Availability of time for economic activity and
    income earning
  • Women are mostly responsible for reproductive
    tasks such as childcare, cleaning, cooking,
    collecting firewood/water, taking care of ill and
  • Traditional role models indicate that women
    should provide food for the household (so they
    cultivate food crops rather than cash crops) or
    the type of work they should do (or not do).

Time use
  • gt Women are working more hours but have much
    lower shares of their working time available for
    market activities

Resource use
  • Access to land
  • Inheritance laws and customary laws often
    disfavour women.
  • Property rights are important for widowed or
    divorced women but also for intra-household
    bargaining power of married women.
  • gtproperty rights for women necessary but not
  • Even though statutory laws may not be
    discriminatory, implementation or interpretation
    at local level may be different. Especially in
    rural areas the relative importance of customary
    laws may be high.
  • Women who live in remote areas and/or are
    uneducated may not be aware of their rights.
  • Joint property rights may still be de facto
    husband property.
  • Ownership does not always mean effective control.

Resource use
  • 2. Access to credit
  • Importance of credit in agricultural environment
    to bridge time between input use and harvest, for
    investment e.g. in small business, for
    consumption smoothing,…
  • Women often face more difficulties in accessing
  • For example due to their lack of command over
    property when there are collateral requirements.
  • Or, they may be dependent on their husbands
  • Or, their lack of education or knowledge may
    prevent them from applying for a loan.

3. Development effects of empowerment of women
  • Besides a mere equality and empowerment issue,
    there are positive development externalities of
    empowering women.
  • For example, why can the provision of credit
    directly to women be more effective in welfare
    enhancement than providing credit to the
  • Assumptions on household behaviour
  • Unitary HH model all HH members pool resources
    gt impact of policies involving HH transfers are
    unaffected by identity of recipient
  • Collective HH model HH members have different
    preferences and do not necessarily pool resources
    gt welfare effects of transfers depend on
    identity of recipient (man/woman)

  • Intra-household research has shown the beneficial
    effects of increasing resources/human capital for
  • control over resources increases womens
    bargaining power in the HH
  • Effects
  • Increased welfare of current and future
  • Differences between distribution of benefits from
    resources under womens control versus mens
    control Women spend more on the familys needs
    while men tend to fulfil personal needs

  • Examples
  • -increased household food security when women
    hold control over land/Different cropping
    preferences (Dey, 1995 von Braun and Webb, 1989
    But increased work burdens for women, see Rao,
  • -social expenditure such as education, health and
    food expenditures positively linked to womens
    income or resources (Kennedy, 1994 Quisumbing
    and Maluccio, 2000 Deininger, 2003)
  • -childrens health and nutritional status more
    positively linked to mothers control over
    resources/educational status than fathers
    (Hallman, 2000 Smith et al, 2003)
  • gt improving womens status has long-term effects
    for health, capacity and productivity of next

  • Effects on agriculture
  • -reducing gender inequalities in human and
    physical capital and current inputs could
    increase agricultural productivity in SSA by
    10-20 percent (Alderman et al, 1996 Quisumbing,
    1996 Smith and Haddad, 2000).
  • For example, simulations from a set of women
    farmers in Kenya show that if all women attended
    primary school yields could be increased by 25

4. Some initiatives to soften womens constraints
  • 1. Improving access to credit for women
    Microfinance/group-based lending.
  • For example, Grameen Bank in Bangladesh.
  • Group-based lending schemes targeted towards the
    poor and often towards women.
  • Does programme participation change HH behaviour
    and does gender of participant matter?
  • (Measures used women and men labour supply, boy
    and girl schooling, expenditure and assets).
  • gt credit has significant effect on well-being of
    poor HHs and effect is larger when participants
    are women (Bangladesh, Pitt and Khandker, 1997)

  • Effects of micro-finance at participant and
    community level in Bangladesh
  • gt Access to microfinance contributes to poverty
    reduction, especially for female participants,
    and to poverty reduction at village level
    (Khandker, 2005)

  • 2. Direct cash transfer programmes targeted to
  • Example PROGRESA in Mexico (Programa de
    Educacion, Salud y Alimentacion).
  • Targeted to mothers PROGRESA used the results
    from empirical research and recognising mothers
    potential to use resources effectively to respond
    to family (rather than personal) needs, gives
    exclusively to mothers.
  • Cash transfers and nutritional supplements are
    conditioned on childrens regular school
    attendance and visits to health care centres.

  • Results of PROGRESA evaluation programme
    (Skoufias, 2005)
  • school enrolment of boys and girls increased
    significantly, especially for girls and at
    secondary school level gt this is estimated to
    lead to an 8 percent higher lifetime level of
    income for the children involved
  • better health status for children and adults
    involved children with mothers who are
    beneficiaries of PROGRESA have 12 lower
    incidence of illness, adults 19 decrease in
    sick/disability days
  • reduced probability of stunting (low
    height-for-age, chronic malnutrition measure) for
    children between 12 and 36 months of age
  • improved food consumption higher caloric
    consumptionmore diverse diet

  • PROGRESA is example of the public provision of
    resources to a specific household member (which
    will increase that persons bargaining power)
  • The programmes effectiveness shows that cash
    transfers targeted to women can change her
    bargaining power in household decision-making
    processes and allow her to reveal her preferences
    towards family needs
  • Mexicos effective poverty alleviating programme
    has served as a model in other Latin-American
  • (In Mexico it is now called Oportunidades)

  • 3. Women groups
  • Social networks, membership in institutionalised
    groups, or community based organisations can help
    to protect individuals from the effects of shocks
    (limit negative/downward mobility) or to improve
    income earning situation (positive/upward
  • Typical groups ROSCAs, funeral groups, women
    groups, …
  • Women are often found to be more likely to be
    members of any group than men, especially of
    financial groups
  • For example, South Africa (Kwazulu-Natal) 14 of
    women in study involved in financial group vs. 7
    of men (Maluccio, 2001)

  • Effects of social capital on bargaining power
    (increased fall-back option)/income generation.
  • For example, using the South Africa data, the
    effect of participation in groups has positive
    effects on HH welfare (measured by expenditures)
    and the elasticity is greater for women, i.e. HH
    welfare responds more to increased womens
    participation. (In Quisumbing and McClafferty,
  • Collective activities/meetings provide an
    opportunity for women to leave the house without
    spouse, to discuss problems, to exchange
  • For example, organised meetings in relation to
    PROGRESA programme-main purpose of which was to
    convey information about programme related issues
    but had positive side effects for empowerment of

  • 4. Saving time?
  • Finding a solution to soften the reproductive
    tasks of women and traditional role models is not
  • For example, Hogares Comunitarios (community
    daycare centres) in Guatemala City gt providing
    low-cost but quality childcare in the community
    as a strategy to alleviate poverty gt by
    softening womens time constraints it allows them
    to enter into off-farm employment

  • Evaluation of the programme (Ruel et al, 2006)
  • programme supports poor families with working
    parents and especially single mothers through
    engagement in more formal and more stable
    employment, resulting in higher wages and larger
    number of social and medical benefits
  • programme has positive impact on childrens
    nutrient intake and dietary diversity (on avg.
    children in the programme consume 20 more
    energy, protein and iron, and 50 more vitamin A)

  • Note For all types of women targeted programmes
  • they can not be designed in isolation from the
    society where they will be implemented. They need
    to be considered taking into account the local
    environment where women operate and the level to
    which it is characterised by traditional norms
    and culture.
  • For example, it can be good to include men in the
    initial meetings to increase their understanding,
    acceptance or consent to women participating in
    these programmes.
  • Women beneficiaries of PROGRESA suggested that
    the programme should also offer education for
    adult men, e.g. on how to treat women/children,
    domestic violence, family planning,…

  • Attention to gender issues and possibilities to
    monitor evolution of gender situation, both in
    society and within households, have increased.
  • Although improvements have been made, especially
    with respect to human capital, still a lot of
    gender inequalities in access to resources such
    as land, credit and own labour time.
  • Development effects of reducing gender
    inequalities and increased access to resources
    for women are potentially very big.