The Impact of Social Institutions on the Economic Role of Women in Developing Countries

OECD Development Centre Working Paper No. 234

59 Pages Posted: 14 Jun 2004

See all articles by Christian Morrisson

Christian Morrisson

Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne

Johannes P. Jütting

Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) - Development Centre (DEV)

Date Written: May 2004

Abstract

Donor agencies and policy makers tend to agree that increased access of women to education, health, credit, formal legal rights and employment opportunities, in conjunction with economic growth, will substantially improve the socio-economic role of women in developing countries. This paper challenges that view. It argues that these measures might not be sufficient if the institutional framework within a country constrains women from participating in economic activities. It finds that social institutions - laws, norms, traditions and codes of conduct - constitute the most important single factor determining women's freedom of choice in economic activities. They have not only a direct impact on the economic role of women but also an indirect one through women's access to resources like education and health care. The findings suggest that an institutional framework that disadvantages half of the adult population hinders development. To address gender inequalities effectively, policy makers and donors must think about and address institutional frameworks that discriminate against women, a task even more difficult than the tough exercises of increasing female enrolment rates or introducing sustainable micro-credit schemes.

Keywords: Social institutions, gender, developing countries, economic role, gender inequalities, donor agencies, institutional frameworks, policy makers, labour market, sustainable growth

JEL Classification: J16, J2, O19, H50, A13

Suggested Citation

Morrisson, Christian and Jütting, Johannes P., The Impact of Social Institutions on the Economic Role of Women in Developing Countries (May 2004). OECD Development Centre Working Paper No. 234, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=556141 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.556141

Christian Morrisson

Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne

12, place du Panthéon
Paris, IL
France

Johannes P. Jütting (Contact Author)

Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) - Development Centre (DEV) ( email )

94, rue Chardon Lagache
Paris, 75775
France

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
579
Abstract Views
3,790
rank
55,745
PlumX Metrics