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Professor Naila Kabeer, School of Oriental and African Studies, London Womens economic empowerment and inclusive growth: labour markets and enterprise.

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Presentation on theme: "Professor Naila Kabeer, School of Oriental and African Studies, London Womens economic empowerment and inclusive growth: labour markets and enterprise."— Presentation transcript:

1 Professor Naila Kabeer, School of Oriental and African Studies, London Womens economic empowerment and inclusive growth: labour markets and enterprise development

2 Inclusive growth implies opportunities for, and fruits of, growth widely distributed Rationale for explicit focus on women and girls lies in asymmetrical relationship documented between economic growth and gender equality. Gender equality in education and employment – and under certain circumstances wages – has a positive impact on economic growth – for different choice of time periods and different groups of countries But economic growth has a far more mixed impact on gender equality: either none or -in some case - adverse impacts However economic growth found to be most positive when accompanied by greater gender equality in employment and education

3 Aims of paper Discuss different ways of defining womens economic empowerment Discuss different theoretical explanations of gender inequality in labour market outcomes Review empirical literature to identify key issues in analysis of labour markets and enterprise from womens empowerment perspective, including blockages and barriers to progress Identify promising approaches to addressing blockages and barriers Identify possible questions that need future research

4 Feminist concerns with womens empowerment Unequal power relations which blocked womens capacity to exercise control over their own lives and participate in wider society on equal terms Focus on womens subjectivity and consciousness (the power within) Importance of key resources (material, social and human) for achieving change Strong collective dimension to achieving sustained structural change Women not homogenous group: differentiated by context, class, caste, race etc Practical gender needs and strategic gender interests

5 Conceptualising womens economic empowerment World Bank Gender Equality Plan: Economic empowerment is about making markets work for women (at the policy level) and empowering women to compete (at the agency level) 2007 ICRW: a women is economically empowered when she has both the ability to succeed and advance economically and the power to make and act on economic decisions 2011 UNDP: womens economic empowerment can be achieved by targeting initiatives to expanding womens economic opportunity; strengthen their legal status and rights; and ensure their voice, inclusion and participation in economic decision-making (2008)

6 Conceptualising womens economic empowerment OECD-DAC GENDERNET: womens economic empowerment is their capacity to participate in, contribute to and benefit from growth processes in ways that recognise the value of their contributions, respect their dignity and make it possible for them to negotiate a fairer distribution of the benefits of growth (2011) SIDA: the process which increases womens real power over economic decisions that influence their lives and priorities in society. Womens economic empowerment can be achieved through equal access to and control over critical economic resources and opportunities, and the elimination of structural gender inequalities in the labour market, including a better sharing of unpaid care work (2009)

7 Overlaps and differences Overlapping focus on markets for womens labour On agency and capabilities Differences: Means to achieve valued goals or valued goal in its own right Confined to economic domain or spill-over into other domains of life? Role allocated to market: Improving womens competitiveness or fairer terms of competition?

8 Limits to markets as force for transformative change in womens lives Returning to OECD-DAC definition – our attempt to draw attention to the terms of engagement with market forces: recognition, dignity and strategic forms of agency Based on literature that patterns of growth matter as much as pace for reducing inequality Market forces on their own cannot dissolve durable inequalities in the market place (WDR 2006) Where market failures are norm rather than exception, markets reproduce inequalities because underpinned by asymmetries of power

9 Limits to markets as force for transformative change in womens lives Those with power are able to frame the rules of the game to defend their privileges – or ignore the rules that they themselves framed Example of former: Nyamu-Musembi on asymmetrical attention to rights of capital relative to the rights of labour in rule of law reforms Example of latter: Ravi Kanbur notes it is not existence of regulations alone that distinguishes formal from informal employment but extent to which regulations enforced (widespread violation of labour regulations across the world) We need to know better how markets work in the real world, particularly in low income countries and what leads to persistence of gender inequalities

10 Theoretical approaches: individual choice and structural constraint Neo-classical theories assume individual choice and control for largely individual constraints. Strong reliance on econometric modelling But gender is more than a dummy variable. Simply factoring more variables to reduce the unexplained portion of gender wage gap may reduce residual but does not rule out discrimination. Shifts attention from direct wage discrimination to processes which give rise to inequalities in valued resource endowments and different structure of rewards/opportunities

11 Feminist theories: Links between gender-segregation and distribution of wages (Treiman and Hartmann, 1981) Bergmanns crowding hypothesis combined social stereotyping/outright discrimination to explain segregated market structure and operation of market forces to explain distribution of wages and working conditions Folbre (1994): Gendered structure of labour markets product of behaviour of powerful actors promoting or defending their privilege (employers exploiting divisions in work force; established groups of labour excluding weaker sections from competing in order to better their own wages and working conditions etc)

12 Feminist approaches Individuals and groups do make choices and exercise agency but capacity to do so shaped by larger structures of constraint which govern social relations between different groups in different domains of society. Gender disadvantage in the labour market is product of these structures of constraint which operate over the life course of men and women in different societies Quantitative methods can help establish existence and magnitude of inequality of outcomes but qualitative methods needed to explain how and why

13 Gendered structures of constraint: gender specific constraints (Kabeer, 2008) Norms, beliefs and values arising from inherently gendered relations of private domain of family and kinship: ascribed roles and responsibilities, aptitudes and predispositions on basis of gender (age, marital status etc). Define prevailing models of masculinity and femininity for different societies and different social groups within them Most widespread: primary responsibility for unpaid care and domestic work ascribed to women and girls. Men largely assigned primary responsibility in productive sphere but economic roles of women vary across societies and, by class etc, within them More context specific: norms restricting womens mobility in public domain, association of men and women with certain technologies; crops etc

14 Gendered structures of constraint: imposed gender constraints Purportedly impersonal relations in state and market becoming bearers of gender when they reflect and reinforce preconceived notions of masculinity and femininity as routine aspects of their rules, procedures and practices Rules that explicitly discriminate on basis of gender (World Bank/IFC survey) or have gender-biased outcomes (collateral requirements for getting formal banking loans) Unconscious bias or active discrimination on part of agricultural extension workers, state officials, employers, trade unions, bank managers etc

15 Gender-intensified constraints Gender inequalities are a product of explicit discrimination (inheritance rules) as well as rational responses to structural discrimination (parental investment in boys health and education; missing women phenomenon?) Gender intensifies constraints associated with other forms of inequality (class, race etc) so while poor men and women share certain labour market disadvantages, poorer women continue to occupy inferior positions in occupational hierarchy

16 Gender inequalities in paid and unpaid work: empirical trends Female labour force participation risen steadily so that they now make up around 40% of global labour force But accompanied by steady growth of informal working practices, including within formal economy Working women disproportionately concentrated in lower paid, part time, casual, temporary jobs both within formal and informal economy

17 Gender inequalities in paid and unpaid work: empirical trends Male labour force in developing countries largely in wage/salaried employment and own-account work while female concentrated in own-account work and unpaid family labour: latter two classified as vulnerable categories Result is highly gender segmented structure across the economy Some reduction in gender segregation but glacial pace Little evidence of change in gender division of unpaid work so working women generally work longer hours than men General pattern: married women with children largely in self- employed work while single women more likely in waged work Two exceptions: affluent women and very poor women, particularly female household heads

18 Findings of DFID-funded study on womens empowerment and paid work: wide-ranging definition..the conceptualisation of empowerment that informs this (research) touches on many different aspects of change in womens lives, each important in themselves, but also in their inter-relationships with other aspects. It touches on womens sense of self-worth and social identity; their willingness and ability to question their subordinate status and identity; their capacity to exercise strategic control over their own lives and to renegotiate their relationships with others who matter to them; and their ability to participate on equal terms with men in reshaping the societies in which they live in ways that contribute to a more just and democratic distribution of power and possibilities (Kabeer:2008 p. 27)

19 Key findings: Formal/semi-formal work most likely to empower women in all three contexts on a wide range of indicators Positive but less consistent were impacts of informal paid work outside the home in Bangladesh and off-farm self employment in Ghana Within Egypt and Bangladesh, wide spread variations in womens empowerment by location: suggests existence of localised constraints that may be easier to address than overarching structures Conundrum: formal paid work largely in public sector but public sector is shrinking. How do we extend formal work? How do we reproduce positive aspects of formality in informal work?

20 Starting premise: While one should not assume that all women want to work, it is safe to say that women want to be given the same freedom as men to choose work if they want to; and if they choose to work, they should have the same chance of finding decent jobs as men. (ILO, 2008:p.2)

21 Do women choose to work: opportunity, distress or what women have always done? Rising flprs partly a response to new opportunities generated by globalisation, falling fertility rates, rising education levels, changing gender roles and rising aspirations But also evidence of push factors: strong association between womens paid work and household poverty in many contexts Added worker effect in times of household or generalised crisis Distress sales of labour least likely to be empowering: characterise women with little education, from poor households, particularly married women with children

22 Do women always choose what work they do? Widespread assumption that womens concentration that women in informal self employment out of choice because it allows them to reconcile household responsibilities with paid work. But is this a choice or response to constraint? Increasing percentage of women in Indian NSS say they do unpaid domestic work out of necessity 24% of women and 2% of men in Kyrgyz Republic say care responsibilities keep them from taking up paid work Cambodian women say that they have do the unpaid domestic work because no one else would do it otherwise Brazilian women say care responsibilities keep them from looking for work Study from Honduras shows women, particularly poorer women, in full time work more likely to express job satisfaction than those in part time work. Problem was not enough full time work.

23 Empowering women through enterprise development: from survival to accumulation Informal household enterprises owned by women generally smaller and more survival oriented than those owned by men. Less likelihood of gender-based differences at higher growth end Likelihood of registration if owned premises, simplification of registration procedures, higher education, access to formal loans, motivations for setting up business. Work life balance and support of husbands matters. Gender segregation by sector appears one factor in explaining lower returns to female enterprise

24 Question of motivation raises important questions Successful enterprise development requires assets and attitudes If enterprise represents a survival strategy in the absence of other options, can entrepreneurs be assisted to move from survival to accumulation? Some evidence that survivalist entrepreneurs may be better off in waged work than own enterprise: would expansion of waged work be policy priority? Or the BRAC TUP approach: asset transfers+ + +? And are women wage workers necessarily better off in women owned enterprises? (one rationale for focus on womens enterprise)

25 Empowering women through wage labour: from exploitation to decent work Empowerment potential of waged work likely to vary according its position in a continuum Casual agricultural wage labour, domestic labour, work in construction industry and the sex working underbelly of labour market at the exploitative end. Public sector formal jobs closest most women get to equal opportunity employers and decent work but this is shrinking. Some convergence in view that jobs generated in large scale enterprises through certain kinds of export among the more desirable jobs, not because employers nicer but higher productivity and collective pressure by civil society organisations. But jobs often seasonal, long working days and subject to market volatility of markets

26 Expanding women labour market options: the power to choose Employment centred macro-economic policy for overall generation of jobs for men and women - but additional measures needed to assure womens access. These work by addressing underlying constraints at macro, meso and micro levels Legal frameworks relating to womens property and other rights and equal opportunities (land titling?) Regulatory frameworks: simplifying registration enormous impetus to formalise business but what is impact of other regulations

27 Expanding women labour market options: the power to choose Education associated with higher productivity employment but unrealised potential of training and vocational skills. Investments in infrastructure (electrification, roads, piped water) Addressing care constraints: indirect (schools, Mid day meals) and directly (affordable care facilities) Expanding access to financial services but more emphasis on savings-led approaches for survivalist end and access to formal finance for growth-oriented end

28 Expanding women labour market options: the power to choose Social protection essential in the face of volatility accompanying globalisation but some forms of protection also promote paid work (cash transfers finance assets and job search; public work schemes increase demand for womens labour and wages; provide route into formal work in Argentina; access to credit as result of regular payments etc) Progressive realisation of labour rights for the informal economy The critical role of voice, organisation and collective action: how does it work? How has it worked?

29 BUT Focus on supply side constraints will not expand the overall availability of jobs Without a more enabling macro-economic environment, and job-centred growth strategies, result will be competition of a bigger piece of a very small pie Is there a larger role for the state as employer of last resort?

30 To sum up: a research agenda That explores how labour markets actually work in low income countries in order to A) understand the main barriers and blockages to womens mobility within existing occupational structure B) explores what works and how in addressing these constraints (at macro and micro levels) C) that exploits the comparative advantage of different methodological approaches to answer these questions

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