Gender

Overview

Despite significant progress in recent decades, labor markets across the world remain divided along gender lines. Female labor force participation has remained lower than male participation, gender wage gaps are high, and women are overrepresented in the informal sector and among the poor. In many countries, legal restrictions persist which constrain women from developing their full economic potential. While equality between men and women is in itself an important development goal, women's economic participation is also a part of the growth and stability equation. In rapidly aging economies, higher female labor force participation can boost growth by mitigating the impact of a shrinking workforce. Better opportunities for women can also contribute to broader economic development in developing economies, for instance through higher levels of school enrollment for girls.

 

Highlight

IMF Photo/Andrew Caballero-Reynolds Tema, Ghana
Promoting Gender Equality and Tackling Demographic Challenges | June 2024

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 improve education and skills.

Our latest gender note highlights how gender equality can serve as a stabilizing factor to rebalance demographic trends.

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Latest Research and Publications

Economists Offer Fresh Takes on Inflation, Inequality, Technology
December 20, 2023

Latest books provide analytical and anecdotal accounts of the greatest challenges—and the perspective that comes with time

Countries That Close Gender Gaps See Substantial Growth Returns
September 27, 2023

Empowering women economically is a powerful engine of inclusive growth

Women Struggle for Equal Pay and Progression at Central Banks
May 9, 2023

A new survey reveals the gender gap persists

How to Close Gender Gaps and Grow the Global Economy
September 8, 2022

Capturing the dividends from women’s economic equity. Too many women are locked out of economic opportunities, which is not only unfair but also harms growth and resilience for all. 

Gender Budgeting Is More Widespread But Implementation Remains a Challenge
March 8, 2022

The pandemic has deepened long-standing gender gaps, with women continuing to bear the burden of unpaid work. By structuring spending and taxation in ways that advance gender equality—a process called gender budgeting—governments can help close the gap.

How Empowering Women Supports Economic Growth
March 7, 2022

International Women’s Day, first recognized by the United Nations in 1977, grew from early 1900s labor movements for better working conditions and women’s right to work.

Promoting Gender Equality and Tackling Demographic Challenges
June 11, 2024

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 Diversity in The Executive Board: 2024 Report to The Board Of Governors
May 29, 2024

The benefits of gender diversity are well known – it increases effectiveness and efficiency and strengthens decision-making. Yet, the IMF Executive Board continues to fall short of reaching gender balance, with women constituting a small minority of the Executive Directors and Alternate Executive Directors. There is a clear need for change. The IMFC has called on the membership to take action, including by introducing voluntary medium-term objectives to raise the number of women holding leadership positions at the Board. This report summarizes the Executive Board’s recommendations for these targets and lays out proposals for concerted actions that can be taken by individual countries and constituencies

Mauritius: Selected Issues
May 28, 2024

Selected Issues

Iraq: Selected Issues
May 16, 2024

Selected Issues

Japan: Selected Issues
May 13, 2024

Selected Issues

Gender Equality and Economic Development in Sub-Saharan Africa
April 11, 2024

Efforts to achieve gender equality will not only help sub-Saharan Africa revive its inclusive growth engine but also will ensure progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals and help address the main disruptive challenges of this century. This book explores the progress made in gender equality in the region, highlighting both the challenges and successes in areas such as legal reforms; education; health; gender-based violence; harmful practices, such as child marriage; and financial inclusion. It takes stock of initiatives towards integrating gender into core macroeconomic and structural reforms, such as through implementing gender budgeting and examines the role that fiscal and other policies can play in closing gender gaps when they are mindful of distributional impacts. Drawing from extensive research across different institutions, the book underscores the macroeconomic significance of gender equality, emphasizing its potential to drive GDP growth, enhance economic stability, reduce income inequality, and foster sustainable development. It lays out how gender gaps interact with emerging challenges, such as digitalization, and explores the impact of global megatrends, such as climate change, on gender inequality, offering strategies for inclusive policy responses—including in a context where women and girls are still carrying a disproportionate care burden that is often not captured in economic measurement. The book aims to serve as a roadmap for policymakers, stakeholders, and advocates seeking to harness the untapped potential of gender equality—for its own sake and for the region's inclusive, sustainable, and green development. It calls for concerted efforts to dismantle structural barriers, transform social norms, and prioritize gender-responsive policies to unlock the full economic potential of sub-Saharan Africa.

Gender and Business Cycles
April 4, 2024

This note reviews the literature on the complex relationship between gender and business cycles. It focuses on nuanced patterns that challenge the notion of gender neutrality in economic fluctuations. The note also analyzes dimensions, such as unemployment, income risk, hours worked, and responses to monetary and fiscal policy shocks, and documents distinctive disparities.

Angola: Selected Issues
March 27, 2024

Selected Issues

Economists Offer Fresh Takes on Inflation, Inequality, Technology
December 20, 2023

Latest books provide analytical and anecdotal accounts of the greatest challenges—and the perspective that comes with time

Countries That Close Gender Gaps See Substantial Growth Returns
September 27, 2023

Empowering women economically is a powerful engine of inclusive growth

Women Struggle for Equal Pay and Progression at Central Banks
May 9, 2023

A new survey reveals the gender gap persists

How to Close Gender Gaps and Grow the Global Economy
September 8, 2022

Capturing the dividends from women’s economic equity. Too many women are locked out of economic opportunities, which is not only unfair but also harms growth and resilience for all. 

Gender Budgeting Is More Widespread But Implementation Remains a Challenge
March 8, 2022

The pandemic has deepened long-standing gender gaps, with women continuing to bear the burden of unpaid work. By structuring spending and taxation in ways that advance gender equality—a process called gender budgeting—governments can help close the gap.

How Empowering Women Supports Economic Growth
March 7, 2022

International Women’s Day, first recognized by the United Nations in 1977, grew from early 1900s labor movements for better working conditions and women’s right to work.

Promoting Gender Equality and Tackling Demographic Challenges
June 11, 2024

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 Diversity in The Executive Board: 2024 Report to The Board Of Governors
May 29, 2024

The benefits of gender diversity are well known – it increases effectiveness and efficiency and strengthens decision-making. Yet, the IMF Executive Board continues to fall short of reaching gender balance, with women constituting a small minority of the Executive Directors and Alternate Executive Directors. There is a clear need for change. The IMFC has called on the membership to take action, including by introducing voluntary medium-term objectives to raise the number of women holding leadership positions at the Board. This report summarizes the Executive Board’s recommendations for these targets and lays out proposals for concerted actions that can be taken by individual countries and constituencies

Mauritius: Selected Issues
May 28, 2024

Selected Issues

Iraq: Selected Issues
May 16, 2024

Selected Issues

Japan: Selected Issues
May 13, 2024

Selected Issues

Gender Equality and Economic Development in Sub-Saharan Africa
April 11, 2024

Efforts to achieve gender equality will not only help sub-Saharan Africa revive its inclusive growth engine but also will ensure progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals and help address the main disruptive challenges of this century. This book explores the progress made in gender equality in the region, highlighting both the challenges and successes in areas such as legal reforms; education; health; gender-based violence; harmful practices, such as child marriage; and financial inclusion. It takes stock of initiatives towards integrating gender into core macroeconomic and structural reforms, such as through implementing gender budgeting and examines the role that fiscal and other policies can play in closing gender gaps when they are mindful of distributional impacts. Drawing from extensive research across different institutions, the book underscores the macroeconomic significance of gender equality, emphasizing its potential to drive GDP growth, enhance economic stability, reduce income inequality, and foster sustainable development. It lays out how gender gaps interact with emerging challenges, such as digitalization, and explores the impact of global megatrends, such as climate change, on gender inequality, offering strategies for inclusive policy responses—including in a context where women and girls are still carrying a disproportionate care burden that is often not captured in economic measurement. The book aims to serve as a roadmap for policymakers, stakeholders, and advocates seeking to harness the untapped potential of gender equality—for its own sake and for the region's inclusive, sustainable, and green development. It calls for concerted efforts to dismantle structural barriers, transform social norms, and prioritize gender-responsive policies to unlock the full economic potential of sub-Saharan Africa.

Gender and Business Cycles
April 4, 2024

This note reviews the literature on the complex relationship between gender and business cycles. It focuses on nuanced patterns that challenge the notion of gender neutrality in economic fluctuations. The note also analyzes dimensions, such as unemployment, income risk, hours worked, and responses to monetary and fiscal policy shocks, and documents distinctive disparities.

Angola: Selected Issues
March 27, 2024

Selected Issues

Recent Events

The IMF's gender-focused events explore the role of gender equality in economic growth. These discussions offer insights into overcoming gender gaps, showcasing strategies that benefit women, families, and the global economy.

Promoting Inclusive Growth and Gender Equality
April 18, 2024

In an era marked by rapid technological advancement and shifting global economic landscapes, the imperative for inclusive growth and gender equality has never been more critical.

International Women's Day 2024
March 7, 2024

Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva and World Food Programme Executive Director Cindy McCain discussed their personal career journeys, investing in women and girls, and more.

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Empowering Women in the Global Economy
December 13, 2022

Kristalina Georgieva, Melinda French Gates, Hon. Zainab Ahmed, and Sima Sami Bahous discussed how the IMF, governments, and others can work together to help reduce gender gaps.

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Toward Peak Population
November 15, 2022

Senior Advisor on Gender joined a panel discussion on the future of global population growth, and the pressures and opportunities it presents for women and girls.

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Women in Finance
October 15, 2022

Discussion on why more women are needed in the financial sector, especially in leadership positions, and how this can help with financial sector stability and inclusive growth.

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Gender Equality
September 27, 2022

"Gender Equality Boosts Economic Growth and Stability:" remarks by Gita Gopinath, IMF First Deputy Managing Director, delivered at the Korea Gender Equality Forum.

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IMF Gender Strategy
August 25, 2022

At the Center for Global Development, IMF's Ratna Sahay presented the recently approved IMF Strategy Toward Mainstreaming Gender, followed by a panel discussion.

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