Promoting Gender Equality and Tackling Demographic Challenges
Two broad contrasting demographic trends present challenges for economies globally: countries with aging populations, often advanced economies and increasingly emerging markets, anticipate a significant shrinking of the labor force, with implications for growth, economic stability, and public finances. Economies with rapidly growing populations, as is the case in many low-income and developing countries, will face a burgeoning young population entering the labor market in the next decades—a large potential to reap the demographic dividend if the right skills and economic and social conditions are in place. This note highlights how gender equality, in both cases, can serve as a stabilizing factor to rebalance demographic trends. As decisions regarding fertility, human capital investment, and labor force participation are interlinked, policies should aim at relaxing households’ time and resource constraints that condition these choices. This means that, in general, in advanced economies and emerging markets, policies should facilitate women’s work–life choices and boost female participation in the labor market, whereas policies in low-income and developing countries should focus on reforms that narrow gender gaps in opportunities and support human capital accumulation.
Gender Notes