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State policies and women's autonomy in China, India, and the Republic of Korea, 1950-2000 : lessons from contrasting experiences

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Author Info

  • Das Gupta, Monica
  • Sunhwa Lee
  • Uberoi, Patricia
  • Danning Wang
  • Lihong Wang
  • Xiaodan Zhang

Abstract

The authors compare changes in gender roles and women's empowerment in China, India, and the Republic of Korea. Around 1950, these newly formed states were largely poor and agrarian, with common cultural factors that placed similar severe constraints on women's autonomy. They adopted very different paths of development, which are well known to have profoundly affected development outcomes. These choices have also had a tremendous impact on gender outcomes, and today these countries show striking differences in the extent of gender equity achieved. China has achieved the most gender equity, the Republic of Korea the least. The authors conclude that: a) States can exert enormous influence over gender equity. They can mitigate cultural constraints on women's autonomy (as in China and India) or slow the pace of change in gender equity despite women's rapid integration into education, formal employment, and urbanization (as in the Republic ofKorea). b) The impact of policies to provide opportunities for women's empowerment can be greatly enhanced if accompanied by communication efforts to alter cultural values that place heavy constraints on women's access to those opportunities.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 2497.

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Date of creation: 30 Nov 2000
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2497

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Related research

Keywords: Health Monitoring&Evaluation; Agricultural Knowledge&Information Systems; Anthropology; Population&Development; Primary Education;

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Cited by:
  1. Das Gupta, Monica & Jiang Zhenghua & Li Bohua & Xie Zhenming & Woojin Chung & Bae Hwa-Ok, 2002. "Why is son preference so persistent in East and South Asia? a cross-country study of China, India, and the Republic of Korea," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2942, The World Bank.
  2. Siwan Anderson & Garance Genicot, 2012. "Suicide and Property Rights in India," Working Papers id:5080, eSocialSciences.
  3. Das Gupta, Monica & Chung, Woojin & Shuzhuo, Li, 2009. "Is there an incipient turnaround in Asia's"missing girls"phenomenon ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4846, The World Bank.

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