Event Details

  • Gender and Growth Gaps in South Asia - Research and Policy Workshop
  • Date: Thursday, August 3, 2023
  • Co-organisers: Inclusion Economics India Centre at the Institute for Financial Management and Research, Yale Economic Growth Center, Yale Inclusion Economics, the Udaiti Foundation, the Asian Development Bank Institute, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Location:  Infosys Science Foundation, No. 2, 2nd Block (Near South End Circle), 14th Cross Road, Jayanagar East (Ward 153), Bengaluru- 560 011, Karnataka, India
  • Conference Program link

Event Description

Progress on gender equality amidst structural transformation has been remarkably uneven around the world, and recent crises like the COVID-19 pandemic, climate breakdowns, and shifting economic opportunities have further challenged gender-equitable growth. With a tightened fiscal environment in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) paired with increased pressure on LMICs to undertake low-emission growth policies, there is an urgent need for rigorous analysis that can guide policymakers on how to approach, measure, and respond effectively to closing gender gaps en route to building stronger economies and improving long-term human welfare and shared prosperity. 

In recent years, foundational analyses of women’s participation and contributions in driving economic development, such as the Feminization-U hypothesis, have been complemented by nuanced empirical insights on how institutional constraints and economic growth processes interact to impact the dynamics of women’s participation in the labor force and their economic well-being. There is large variation in the experience of different countries and regions even with common enabling trends such as sharply declining fertility and rising education levels for women. These stylized facts “point to an interplay of initial conditions, economic structure, structural change, and persistent gender norms and values” in determining outcomes such as women’s labor force participation (Klasen, 2019) and more broadly, women’s economic well-being. We bring this lens to examine gender and growth gaps in South Asia in the twenty-first century. 

The Economic Growth Center and Inclusion Economics at Yale University are studying questions around structural transformation and gender gaps in the economy in a new research effort on ‘Gender and Growth Gaps’, supported by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Our work under this project will cover both an examination of macroeconomic forces - including new pathways of structural transformation - and microeconomic determinants - including beliefs and norms - that govern labor demand and supply and that likely have distinct patterns by gender. 

This workshop consisted of three research and policy sessions, a keynote dialogue, and a set of parallel working sessions, during which policymakers, civil society, and industry leaders, and researchers engaged in a set of facilitated discussions around pressing policy needs in South Asian countries and insights from the latest research on the drivers and implications of gender inequality in the economy. The workshop served as a forum to engage with the proposed research agenda under the Gender and Growth Gaps project, and shape this effort for policy utility. 

The list of speakers at the workshop included: Rohini Pande (Yale University), Renana Jhabvala (SEWA Bharat), Ashwini Deshpande (Ashoka University), Rosa Abraham (Azim Premji University), Gaurav Chiplunkar (University of Virginia), and Dr. Kajal IAS (Director, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Government of India), among others.

Conference Program

The workshop's keynote speakers were Rohini Pande, Henry J. Heinz II Professor of Economics and Director of the Economic Growth Center at Yale University, and Renana Jhabvala, President of SEWA Bharat and Chair of SEWA Grih Rin. A full list of workshop sessions is available on the conference program page.

If you have any questions about the workshop, please contact Ayush Jain, Associate Research Manager at Yale, at ayush.jain@yale.edu. 

Cover image: Photo by Ishan Tankha.