Female labor force participation
Female labor force participation is mainly driven by the value of women’s waged employment versus the value of their time outside the workplace. While women’s labor force participation has risen in many countries, it has plateaued in the US since 1990 and remains quite low in some countries and regions.
What matters, ultimately, is the opportunity and choice women have to work outside the home and their ability to access decent and productive employment. Women continue to have greater household and caring responsibilities and the motherhood wage penalty can represent a significant cost to being female and having children. Family-friendly policies, like paid maternity and parental leave and flexible work hours, can help, as can the expansion of childcare and universal preschool, but may also have unintended negative consequences for women’s career advancement.
Lack of progress on female labor force participation represents a lost economic, not to mention social, opportunity.
Family-friendly policies increase women’s labor force participation, benefiting them, their families, and society at largeAnne E. Winkler, February 2022Female labor force participation is mainly driven by the value of their market wages versus the value of their non-market time. Labor force participation varies considerably across countries. To understand this international variation, it is important to further consider differences across countries in institutions, non-economic factors such as cultural norms, and public policies. Such differences provide important insights into what actions countries might take to further increase women's participation in the labor market.MoreLess
Government policies can stimulate female labor force participation if coherent and well thought-outNorberto Pignatti, November 2020Increasing women's labor force participation is important to sustainable economic development, especially in economies with highly educated women and an aging population. Women's participation varies across transition countries, driven by such economic and social factors as traditional views of gender roles and limited government support for caregivers. Still, in all countries there is clear scope for policies aimed at increasing women's participation. In particular, in countries where women's educational attainment is already high, policies to support a better work–life balance and female entrepreneurship look particularly promising.MoreLess
Women in crime Updated
Over the last 50 years women have been increasing their participation in the labor market and in the crime marketNadia Campaniello, July 2019In recent decades, women's participation in the labor market has increased considerably in most countries and is converging toward the participation rate of men. Though on a lesser scale, a similar movement toward gender convergence seems to be occurring in the criminal world, though many more men than women still engage in criminal activity. Technological progress and social norms have freed women from the home, increasing their participation in both the labor and the crime market. With crime no longer just men's business, it is important to investigate female criminal behavior to determine whether the policy prescriptions to reduce crime should differ for women.MoreLess
How to design social protection programs that poor women can benefit fromLisa Cameron, February 2019Women are more likely than men to work in the informal sector and to drop out of the labor force for a time, such as after childbirth, and to be impeded by social norms from working in the formal sector. This work pattern undermines productivity, increases women's vulnerability to income shocks, and impairs their ability to save for old age. Many developing countries have introduced social protection programs to protect poor people from social and economic risks, but despite women's often greater need, the programs are generally less accessible to women than to men.MoreLess
Improving outcomes for women takes more than raising labor force participation—good jobs are important tooSher Verick, December 2018The relationship between female labor force participation and economic development is far more complex than often portrayed in both the academic literature and policy debates. Due to various economic and social factors, such as the pattern of growth, education attainment, and social norms, trends in female labor force participation do not conform consistently with the notion of a U-shaped relationship with GDP. Beyond participation rates, policymakers need to focus on improving women’s access to quality employment.MoreLess
Despite a plummeting working-age population, Japan has sustained its labor force size, thanks mostly to surging employment among womenAs the third largest economy in the world and a precursor of global trends in population aging, Japan’s recent experiences provide important lessons regarding how demographic shifts affect the labor market and individuals’ economic well-being. On the whole, the labor market has shown a remarkable stability during the recent financial crisis, despite decades of economic stagnation and sluggish real wage growth. Rapid population aging, however, has brought substantial changes to individuals in the labor market, most notably among women, by augmenting labor demand in the healthcare services industry.MoreLess