Economic Dimensions of Gender Inequality: A Global Perspective

Economic Dimensions of Gender Inequality: A Global Perspective

Economic Dimensions of Gender Inequality: A Global Perspective

Economic Dimensions of Gender Inequality: A Global Perspective

Synopsis

This contributed volume explores the status of women in the economies of countries at various developmental stages. Issues covered include, first, evidence of economic and social inequality throughout the world. Second, gender inequality in many societies can be explained by inadequate investment in human capital. Third, by overlooking women's nonmarket output, countries generally overlook women's economic contributions to a nation. Finally, with economic progress women become healthier as well as better educated and trained. Part I addresses the interaction of economic development and gender inequality, while Part II discusses women in France, Mexico, Nigeria, and Turkey. Part III considers some special concerns facing women.

Excerpt

Concern with gender came to the forefront of public debate in the 1970s. The first International Women's Conference was hold in Mexico City in 1975, and the United Nations designated 1976-1986 as a Decade for Women. In the 1990s, women's issues continue to receive attention from policy makers in national governments and international organizations alike. The 1995 occurrence--and impact--of the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China, reflects the increasing attention accorded to gender issues throughout the world.

Awareness of the China conference provided the genesis for this book. In March 1995, we organized two panel discussions at the annual meeting of the Southwest Social Science Association in Dallas, Texas. The panelists expressed interest in having the papers from the sessions collected in book form. As editors, we then solicited additional contributions from other researchers with expertise in the field. The final product includes an introduction and eleven chapters that cover various aspects of women's economic status throughout the world.

The authors in this volume demonstrate that in all societies, whether industrialized or developing, the division of labor along gender lines, both at home and at work, places women on an unequal footing vis-à-vis men. By and large, women's status is shaped by a society's cultural heritage, economic development, and social institutions. Thus, the gender division of labor permeates all facets of economic and social life and affects one's self-worth, status, and power in society. The chapters in this book address these issues, examining women's status for different countries and regions of the world, both developing and industrialized, from an economic perspective in which the issues' sociopolitical dimensions are recognized. The topics include the labor force participation of women, occupational segregation, earnings inequality, nonmarket employment, health issues, and cultural constraints on women. We hope that the broad perspective of the chapters, the global coverage of issues, and the solid economic analysis will appeal to a wide range of students in fields such as economic development, labor economics, women's studies, policy studies, the sociology of work, and other social science areas.

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