A year ago, the world changed. While the pandemic’s effect on workers has varied worldwide, the new reality has left many mothers scrambling. With schools and daycares closed, many were forced to leave their jobs or cut the hours they worked. […]
By Chie Aoyagi
Japan’s voluntary month-and-a-half shutdown of the economy in April due to COVID-19 has had a higher cost for women than men. A key reason: a “guilt gap” between women and men, where women often feel compelled to take on more professional sacrifices.
Close to one million women—the majority of whom worked in temporary and part-time positions—left the labor force between December and April.
Amid massive disruptions to childcare and schools, research in an IMF Working Paper has helped solidify a universal truth: Women rather than men often face greater responsibility and guilt for being neither the ideal mother nor the ideal employee.
If the labor market was more supportive of work-life balance, then we may have seen a more balanced outcome during the pandemic with both men and women stepping in to help with children. Policies to promote better work-life balance and gender equality will also be critical to help enhance female employment opportunities and careers in the “new normal” after the pandemic is under control.
Working toward an inclusive recovery
The working paper’s findings are increasingly relevant in planning a more inclusive economic recovery. What aspects of a job improve work-life balance, and how much income should the job offer? In answering […]
September 19, 2018
Women are underrepresented at all levels of the global financial system, from depositors and borrowers to bank board members and regulators. […]
August 6, 2018
In the battle for the parity of the sexes, some countries have made progress in reducing inequality—such as in access to health care, education, and financial services—but worldwide, men still have more economic opportunities than women. […]
March 5, 2018
Women who live in countries with stronger protection against harassment, including at work, are more likely to open a bank account, borrow and save, and use financial services such as mobile payments (iStock by Getty Images).
This International Women’s Day is bringing new calls to #pressforprogress on gender parity. Giving women and girls the opportunity to succeed is not only the right thing to do—it can also transform societies and economies.
Unlocking this transformative potential means pushing for more equal opportunities: for example, equality in legal rights for men and women, and equality in access to education, health, and finance. Just as important is the fundamental issue of ensuring a safe environment for all, including protection against harassment. […]
November 22, 2017
Women count. They contribute to society in every way, including as a crucial part of their countries’ economic growth and prosperity.
Not long ago, few people would have expected the International Monetary Fund to be engaged in work on gender inequality. We began by incorporating gender analysis and policy advice in our annual assessments of countries’ economies. Today, with some 30 gender consultations completed, and a dozen more planned, we have made a dent. But there is still a long way to go. […]
May 11, 2017
Much has been written about the relationship between inequality and economic development, but theory remains inconclusive. When income is more concentrated in the hands of a few individuals, this can lead to less demand by the general population and lower investment in education and health, impairing long-term growth. At the same time, a certain level of inequality endows the rich with the means to start businesses, and creates incentives to increase productivity and investment, promoting economic activity. But the initial inequality levels also matter to explain why an increase in inequality varies in its impact on economic development across countries.
Rising inequality is both a moral and economic issue that has implications for the general health of the global economy, and impacts prosperity and growth.
So it’s not surprising that reducing inequality is an integral part of the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by world leaders at the United Nations summit in September. I often discuss with my colleagues where sub-Saharan Africa stands with respect to these objectives. Unfortunately, the region remains one of the most unequal in the world, on par with Latin America (see Chart 1). In fact, inequality seems markedly higher at all levels of income in the region than elsewhere (see Chart 2).