Gender-related research for purposes of development planning is generally implemented at two levels. Microeconomic approaches focus on the behavior of the household and examine the roles of household members, the decision processes within the household, the allocation of resources, the outcomes at the micro level, and their implications on the efficiency and effectiveness of interventions. Macro-level approaches, on the other hand, examine the impact of gender at an aggregated level, often examining development impacts within a broader context, and in relation to other factors that contribute to economic development. Secondary data available in the selected country will be used for the analysis.
A number of gender issues may be relevant across all countries irrespective of region or economic development stage, while some gender issues may be relevant only for a specific group of countries. Women in developing regions tend to have less job security than those in developed regions. In addition, gender issues faced by women in East Asia may not be similar to those faced by women in South Asia. Hence, the TA will look for similarities and differences in gender issues and economic development for selected countries. The country-specific issues relevant to those selected countries will be drawn from existing country gender assessments, and further examined during the TA.
The main scope of the TA is to (i) quantify the economic cost to society due to gender inequality using both macro- and micro-level analyses; and (ii) discuss gender issues and economic development that are common across countries, as well as those that are specific to a country, a subregion, a region.
Five countries (in consultation with the Gender CoP members): the Republic of Korea, the People's Republic of China, India, Indonesia, and Pakistan were selected for the country analysis according to the size and development stage of the economy and availability of relevant data.
|Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy
Gender inequality and economic development are closely related. Empirical studies have shown that gender inequality often links to uneven development outcomes, and that addressing gender-related issues can have a significant effect on the efficiency and welfare aspects of policy interventions. The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family of the Republic of Korea has requested the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to provide support for quantifying the cost of gender inequality in terms of foregone output growth, and to assist them in learning from gender policy initiatives in other countries in the region to further improve their own gender policy and strategies. ADB has prepared the technical assistance (TA) in close consultation with the Government of Korea and the ADB Gender Equity Community of Practice (including ADB members, gender specialists in regional departments, and resident missions). The proposed TA will support analysis of (i) the macro-level aggregated impact of gender inequality on economic growth, examining issues such as female labor market participation, wage differences, and economic growth; and (ii) micro-level (household) gender issues, such as access to education, labor participation, and types of jobs, that tend to reflect the resource allocation and bargaining power of females within households.
Recent research suggests that economic growth can positively impact gender equity by reducing poverty and increasing opportunity. Gender inequality is often greater among the poor, both within and across countries. For example, while the gender gap in primary and secondary gross enrollment rates decreased rapidly worldwide during 1991- 2009, it remains greater in poor countries than in middle income and rich countries, with gaps between boys and girls persisting in poorer countries.
There is evidence that high female labor force participation contributes substantially to economic growth. Using a growth accounting approach, research has found that the rise in female labor force participation in the four East Asian tiger economies accounted for 0.6% 1.6% of annual per capita growth in these economies, giving rise to a controversy on the relative role of productivity and factor inputs as explanations for economic growth.
There is extensive literature on gender inequality and economic development at both the macro level (including cross-country analyses) and micro level (e.g., analyses using household data). Nevertheless, research is needed that combines the extensive information available in micro-level data (for example, national census data) with a macro-level model (e.g., a growth model) to help understand the contribution made by various factors associated with gender inequality to economic performance in country economies. An in-depth country analysis is needed that focuses on the impacts of gender inequality on opportunity cost, resource allocation, and decision making on factors such as employment and education.