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How do women weather economic shocks ? a review of the evidence

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  • Sabarwal, Shwetlena
  • Sinha, Nistha
  • Buvinic, Mayra

Abstract

Do women weather economic shocks differently than men? The evidence shows this to be the case, especially in low-income countries. The first-round impacts of economic crises on women's employment should be particularly salient in the current downturn, since women have increased their participation in the globalized workforce and therefore are more directly affected by the contraction of employment than in the past. Crises also have second-round impacts, as vulnerable households respond to declining income with coping strategies that can vary significantly by gender. In the past, women from low-income households have typically entered the labor force, while women from rich households have often exited the labor market in response to economic crises. In contrast, men's labor force participation rates have remained largely unchanged. Evidence also suggests that women defer fertility during economic crises and that child schooling and child survival are adversely affected, mainly in low-income countries, with adverse effects on health being greater for girls than for boys. In middle-income countries, by contrast, the effects on children's schooling and health are more nuanced, and gender differences less salient. Providing women in poor households with income during economic downturns makes economic sense. This paper reviews workfare programs and cash transfers and finds that the former provide poor women with income only when they include specific design features. The latter have been effective in providing mothers with income and protecting the wellbeing of children in periods of economic downturn.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5496.

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Date of creation: 01 Dec 2010
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5496

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Keywords: Labor Markets; Population Policies; Labor Policies; Gender and Development; Health Monitoring&Evaluation;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Kumar, Neha & Quisumbing, Agnes R., 2011. "Gendered impacts of the 2007-08 food price crisis: Evidence using panel data from rural Ethiopia," IFPRI discussion papers 1093, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  2. Tamar Khitarishvili, 2013. "The Economic Crisis of 2008 and the Added Worker Effect in Transition Countries," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_765, Levy Economics Institute.
  3. Vani S. Kulkarni & Manoj Pandey & Raghav Gaiha, 2013. "MDGs and gender inequality," Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper Series 18813, BWPI, The University of Manchester.
  4. Buvinic, Mayra & Das Gupta, Monica & Casabonne, Ursula & Verwimp, Philip, 2013. "Violent conflict and gender inequality : an overview," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6371, The World Bank.
  5. Forbes, Kinisha, 2011. "Inequality in crisis and recovery : revealing the divides: the case of Brazil," ILO Working Papers 469849, International Labour Organization.
  6. Sabarwal, Shwetlena & Sinha, Nistha & Buvinic, Mayra, 2011. "How Do Women Weather Economic Shocks? What We Know," World Bank - Economic Premise, The World Bank, issue 46, pages 1-6, January.
  7. Shwetlena Sabarwal & Nistha Sinha & Mayra Buvinic, 2011. "How Do Women Weather Economic Shocks? What We Know," World Bank Other Operational Studies 10113, The World Bank.

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