“There’s something so special about a woman who dominates in a man’s world. It takes a certain grace, strength, intelligence, fearlessness, and the nerve to never take no for an answer.”-Rihanna
NOT long ago women faced tremendous barriers as they sought opportunities that would set them on an equal footing with men. Going back a mere quarter-century, inequality between women and men was widely apparent—in university classrooms, in the workplace, and even in homes. Since then, the lives of women and girls around the world have improved dramatically in many respects.
In most countries—rich and developing—they are going to school more, living longer, getting better jobs, and acquiring legal rights and protections.
But large gender gaps remain. Women and girls are more likely to die, relative to men and boys, in many low- and middle-income countries than their counterparts in rich countries. Women earn less and are less economically productive than men almost everywhere across the world. And women have less opportunity to shape their lives and make decisions than do men.
A woman is economically empowered when she has both the ability to succeed and advance economically and the power to make and act on economic decisions.
- To succeed and advance economically, women need the skills and resources to compete in markets, as well as fair and equal access to economic institutions.
- To have the power and agency to benefit from economic activities, women need to have the ability to make and act on decisions and control resources and profits.
Women’s economic questions are wide-ranging, and the list of policy hurdles to be resolved is long. If we truly desire to live in equitable societies, we must act at this moment.