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International Monetary Fund
While there are ample reasons for discussing gender diversity in good times, there is an even greater need in bad times. At the time of this report, the economic and social consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the negative spillovers and higher inflation following Russia’s war in Ukraine, have exacerbated pre-existing gender gaps, disproportionately affecting women’s jobs, incomes, and security. The stall in progress towards gender parity has resulted in a call for further action to reduce gender inequality, as seen in the Strategy for Mainstreaming Gender at the Fund. The integration of gender in the Fund’s core activities, when macro-critical, recognizes the fact that reducing gender disparities results in higher economic growth, greater economic stability and resilience, and lower income inequality.
Can Sever
The unequal treatment of women in the law is one of the most visible forms of gender inequality. Prevalent legal constraints on the basis of gender prevent women, and thereby economies, from reaching their true potential. In this regard, this paper (i) documents the evolution of gender discriminatory laws around the globe, and (ii) sheds light on the role of legal gender equality in income convergence across countries. It shows that despite the remarkable progress toward gender equality in the law over the last five decades, the legal environment across the world is still far from providing a level playing field for women. Moreover, cross-country gaps in gender discriminatory laws have persisted and even widened over the years, meaning that some countries have lagged behind the progress in repealing the laws that act as a barrier to women’s economic inclusion. Based on a global sample since the 1970s, this paper finds that greater gender equality in the law facilitates cross-country income convergence over time. The results call for action and provide a reason to be optimistic going forward. They imply that legal reforms supportive of gender equality, which could indeed be actionable in the shorter term, help poorer countries catch up with the living standards in the advanced economies. These offer a window of opportunity in the post-Covid-19 period, given the adverse effects of the pandemic on economic growth and gender gaps.
International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, & Review Department
On July 22, 2022, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved the IMF’s first Strategy toward Mainstreaming Gender into the IMF’s core activities. Mainstreaming gender at the IMF starts with the recognition that reducing gender disparities goes hand-in-hand with higher economic growth, greater economic stability and resilience, and lower income inequality. At the same time, economic and financial policies can exacerbate or narrow gender disparities. Well-designed macroeconomic, structural, and financial policies can support efficient and inclusive outcomes and equitably benefit women, girls, and the society in general. The strategy lays out how the IMF can help its member countries address gender disparities in the context of carrying out its core functions—surveillance, lending, and capacity development. The strategy comprises four key pillars: first, gender-disaggregated data collection and development of modeling tools to enable staff to conduct policy analysis; second, a robust governance framework for an evenhanded approach across members based on the macro-criticality of gender; third, strengthening collaboration with external partners to benefit from knowledge sharing and peer learning, leverage complementarities, and maximize the impact on the ground; and fourth, the efficient use of resources allocated to gender by putting in place a central unit for realizing scale economies and supporting country teams.