Photo of an Indian woman in a lab. Photo by PradeepGaurs, Shutterstock.
Photo by PradeepGaurs, Shutterstock.

Gender and Growth Gaps in South Asia

by Zahrah Abdulrauf
July 13, 2023

Global progress towards gender equality has been uneven in recent years, given intersecting crises such as the Covid-19 pandemic, climate disruptions, and fluctuating economic opportunities. Rigorous analysis is needed to inform policy and practice to effectively address and diminish gender gaps, with the goal of contributing to robust economies and improving human welfare in the long run.

Luckily, recent research has built on earlier analyses of women's participation in economic development, to yield nuanced empirical insights on the interplay of institutional features and economic growth processes impacting women's participation in the workforce and their overall economic well-being. These observations are particularly pertinent in the context of South Asia, which has some of the lowest women’s labor force participation rates globally, alongside important variations in gendered labor market dynamics across countries in the region.

Insights from this body of work will be shared at a research and policy workshop to be held at the Infosys Science Foundation, Bengaluru, India on August 3, 2023. The event will be hosted by EGC, Inclusion Economics at Yale University, and Inclusion Economics India Centre (IEIC) at the Institute for Financial Management and Research (IFMR), in collaboration with the Udaiti Foundation, the Asian Development Bank Institute, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 

The workshop will comprise three panel sessions, a keynote dialogue, and parallel working sessions. Policymakers, civil society and industry leaders, and researchers will engage in 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. Speakers will include Rohini Pande (Yale University), Renana Jhabvala (SEWA Bharat), Ashwini Deshpande (Ashoka University), Priyank Kharge (Government of Karnataka), Rosa Abraham (Azim Premji University), Gaurav Chiplunkar (University of Virginia), and Dr. Kajal, IAS (Director, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Govt of India), among others.

The event is linked to a new cross-national research effort, "Gender and Growth Gaps," at EGC and Inclusion Economics at Yale University, backed by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Over coming years, this project will scrutinize both macroeconomic forces, including new pathways of structural transformation, and microeconomic determinants, such as beliefs and norms, influencing labor demand and supply, likely exhibiting distinct patterns by gender. The August workshop will serve as a forum to engage with the proposed research agenda under the Gender and Growth Gaps project and shape this effort for policy utility. 

Interested participants are encouraged to register here. For further queries regarding the conference, please contact Ayush Jain, Associate Research Manager at Yale, at