1st Edition

Women's Economic Empowerment Insights from Africa and South Asia

Edited By Kate Grantham, Gillian Dowie, Arjan de Haan Copyright 2021
    290 Pages 22 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    290 Pages 22 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book investigates the barriers to women’s economic empowerment in the Global South. Drawing on evidence from a wide range of countries, the book outlines important lessons and practical solutions for promoting gender equality.

    Despite global progress in closing gender gaps in education and health, women’s economic empowerment has lagged behind, with little evidence that economic growth promotes gender equality. International Development Research Centre’s (IDRC) Growth and Economic Opportunities for Women (GrOW) programme was set up to provide policy lessons, insights, and concrete solutions that could lead to advances in gender equality, particularly on the role of institutions and macroeconomic growth, barriers to labour market access for women, and the impact of women’s care responsibilities. This book showcases rigorous and multi-disciplinary research emerging from this ground-breaking programme, covering topics such as the school-to-work transition, child marriage, unpaid domestic work and childcare, labour market segregation, and the power of social and cultural norms that prevent women from fully participating in better paid sectors of the economy.

    With a range of rich case studies from Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Kenya, Nepal, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, and Uganda, this book is perfect for students, researchers, practitioners, and policymakers working on women’s economic empowerment and gender equality in the Global South.

    Introduction: The Growth and Economic Opportunities for Women Programme

    Part I: Conceptualizing the Relationship Between Economic Growth and Gender Equality

    1. Gender Equality, Inclusive Growth, and Labour Markets

    Naila Kabeer

    Part II: Syntheses of Grow-Supported Research on Women’s Economic Empowerment

    2. Stalled Progress: Why Labour Markets are Failing Women

    James Heintz

    3. Macroeconomics and Gender: The Linkages Between Economic Growth and Women’s Economic Empowerment

    Sophia Kan And Stephan Klasen

    4. Developing Care: The Care Economy and Economic Development

    Nancy Folbre

    5. Gender, Social Norms, and Women’s Economic Empowerment

    Rachel Marcus

    Part III: Evidence from Grow-Supported Case Studies in Developing Country Contexts

    6. A Mine of One’s Own? Gender Norms and Empowerment in Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining

    Doris Buss et al.

    7. Picturing Change Through Photovoice: Participatory Evaluation of a Day Care Intervention in an Urban Informal Context

    Milka Nyariro et al.

    8. Paid Work and Unpaid Care Work in India, Nepal, Tanzania, and Rwanda: A Bi-Directional Relationship

    Deepta Chopra

    9. Women’s Labour Force Participation in Sri Lanka’s North

    Ramani Gunatilaka And Ranmini Vithanagama

    10. The School-To-Work Transition for Young Females in Sub-Saharan Africa: Comparative Qualitative Evidence from Six Countries

    Jane Kabubo-Mariara, Adalbertus Kamanzi, and Andy Mckay

    Conclusion: Programming and Policy Lessons and Future Research Priorities for Women’s Economic Empowerment

    Gillian Dowie, Arjan De Haan, And Kate Grantham


    Kate Grantham is an international development researcher, educator, and consultant focused on gender equality and women’s empowerment issues.

    Gillian Dowie is a senior programme officer in the Sustainable Inclusive Economies programme at IDRC, currently based in Delhi, India.

    Arjan de Haan is a senior programme specialist with IDRC's Sustainable Inclusive Economies programme.

    "With research syntheses on topics including labour markets, care, macroeconomic issues, and social norms, along with diverse case studies from many countries, Women’s Economic Empowerment: Insights from Africa and South Asia represents a vital new contribution to our understanding of the relationship between gender inequality and the dynamics of economies in low-resource settings." -- Ruth Levine, CEO, IDinsight, USA

    "This edited volume presents cutting-edge research on women’s economic empowerment from diverse settings in the Global South. Through an examination of the gendered continuities, disruptions, and contradictions in the social and economic status of women in developing countries, it demonstrates why structural gender inequalities may persist despite individualised advancement of some women and what can be done about it." -- Bipasha Baruah, Professor and Canada Research Chair in Global Women’s Issues, Western University, Canada

    "Does economic growth promote gender equality? Based on rigorous primary research in 50 countries in the developing world, the answers from this ambitious research program reflect the context-specificity of gender relations and the complex relationships among labour markets, social norms, and care work to identify options for programmes and policy." -- Agnes Quisumbing, Senior Research Fellow, International Food Policy Research Institute, USA