Women In Economics / Inclusion and gender

Legal Barriers to Women’s Economic Empowerment

Katharine Christopherson

June 3, 2022

Seventy-five percent of economies in Francophone Africa have regulations which restrict women’s employment, mirroring a 1954 ordinance from the former federation of French West Africa. (iStock Images / guenterguni)

In This Episode

When women begin to participate more in the economy, good things happen. There's more growth, less inequality, and greater financial stability. So, why is women's labor force participation still so low in so many countries? Katharine Christopherson is an Assistant General Counsel in the IMF Legal Department and coauthor of some new research that looks at the legal impediments to women’s economic activity across the globe. In this podcast, journalist Rhoda Metcalfe and Katharine Christopherson discuss the outdated laws that hold women back and what drives countries to reform them. Transcript

Katharine Christopherson is an Assistant General Counsel in the IMF Legal Department.

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Bruce Edwards

International Monetary Fund

Bruce Edwards produces the IMF podcast program. He's an award-winning audio producer and journalist who's covered armed conflicts, social unrest, and natural disasters from all corners of the world. He believes economists have an important role in solving the world's problems and aspires to showcase their research in every IMF podcast.

Rhoda Metcalfe


Rhoda Metcalfe is an independent journalist and audio producer. Her reporting on the armed conflict in Colombia in the late 90s, as well as her work in Egypt, Turkey and South Africa has won several awards. She now produces podcasts and radio features from Washington DC and is a regular contributor to the IMF Podcast program.