Gender as growth driver, Keeping the soil healthy is a challenge Current Affairs 28th July, 2017DEVENDRA VISHWAKARMA
Gender as growth driver
Empowering women to engage in productive employment is critical to achieving not only this SDG but is also pivotal to economic growth, poverty eradication, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, and attaining universal primary education.
Economic crises affect women more than men:
- Women are often laid off first as men are traditionally considered to be the main breadwinners.
- Economic shocks that worsen infrastructure, physical and human, affect women more than men by reducing their access to markets and basic services.
- Girls are often withdrawn from schools to help with household work and informal enterprises during times of economic crisis, reinforcing gender gaps in education.
Gender as a new growth driver:
- It has begun to attract the attention of policymakers in recent years.
- Economic growth and development depend upon successfully utilizing the workforce, both male and female. Recent estimates suggest that increasing the female participation rate to that of men could potentially raise economic growth by as much as 5%.
- While achieving economic growth sometimes requires tough structural reforms and choices (e.g., progressive taxation that may discourage effort), the opposite is true for gender as a driver of growth.
- Multilateral global institutions have scaled up the importance of gender in their growth work. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has increased the focus on gender and growth in Article IV consultations in a diverse group of countries, including Chile, Costa Rica, Egypt, Guatemala, Hungary, India, Iran, Jordan, Mali, Macedonia, Mauritius, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland and Rwanda.
- The World Bank has also increased its focus on gender-informed lending and advisory services.
- A range of structural policy reforms are being implemented to eliminate gender distortions to promote sustainable growth.
- The international community, under the aegis of the UN, has been pursuing gender equality since 2000, which now features as one of the primary Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
- India is simultaneously a leader in promoting women’s participation in government but also a laggard in gender issues in the workplace. Its growth rate for manufacturing has been disappointing compared to its potential.
- Gender-based segmentation has not subsided in India. India’s gender balance in entrepreneurship and jobs remains among the lowest in the world. Improving this balance is an important first step for India’s development and its achievement of greater economic growth and gender equality.
- Globalization and trade policy reforms have made a limited contribution towards India’s convergence in gender segmentation, while domestic pro-competitive reforms are strongly associated with lower segmentation among male employees. Policies targeting the domestic competitive environment have been more effective in mitigating gender discrimination in the labour market.
Challenges in closing the gender gap:
- Lack of resources to implement promising gender policy initiatives. Governments mobilize resources for gender equality from multiple sources, including taxes, overseas development assistance and through public-private partnerships. But progress has been slow from mobilizing resources to close the gender gap.
- Domestic resources are particularly important for accelerating progress on gender equality.
First, investing its own resources signals that a country is committed to achieving gender equality, which is important for both economic and ethical reasons.
Second, only domestic resources can ensure longer-term sustainability for those interventions and activities that are needed to create the fundamental transformation in the way that societies conceive of and organize men’s and women’s roles and responsibilities.
Eliminating the obstacles faced by women in economic participation:
Fiscal and financial reforms that eliminate gender gap can play a vital role.
- Gender budgeting improves gender equality through well-structured fiscal policies and adequate and properly monitored spending on gender-related goals.
- In some countries, gender budgeting has inspired fiscal policies in key areas of the budget, such as education, health, and infrastructure, that contributes to the achievement of gender-related goals.
- It has also improved systems of accountability for public spending for gender-related purposes.
- Some 60 countries, including Rwanda and Mexico, have already introduced gender budgeting.
- Gender budgeting efforts need to address key gender-related education and health goals as well as public infrastructure deficiencies, such as household access to clean water or electricity, that impose high unpaid work burdens on girls and women.
- Gender budgeting efforts can also contribute to improved administration of justice, law, and order, to help reduce violence against girls and women.
Gender-focused structural reforms: