Addressing context-specific barriers to women's participation in decent work
PEP is launching a new research initiative to examine context-specific barriers to decent work for women and identify pathways to removing these barriers.
The two-year initiative funded by Co-Impact will focus on six countries: Kenya, Senegal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Brazil, and Peru.
Local evidence to increase decent work for women
Teams of experienced local researchers and government representatives will carry out gender-sensitive policy analyses of the labor market in each country.
By involving and responding to the needs of national policy stakeholders, the evidence that this initiative will generate should help reduce labor market gender inequality in the six target countries.
The teams will take a mixed-methods approach to describe and analyze context-specific barriers to women’s access to decent work, focusing on legal barriers and social norms. PEP will provide support to the project teams to enhance the researchers’ scientific and policy outreach skills and increase the impact of their projects.
There will also be a cross-country study conducted by PEP experts that aims to feed into broader efforts to improve women’s labor market participation and the quality of their opportunities for work.
This is the first initiative headed by a PEP Research Fellow with gender analysis expert Nisha Arunatilake taking the lead.
“As well as pinpointing the social, economic, and legal context-specific barriers in each country, the analysis will quantify their impact on female labor force participation in decent work so as to identify which are the most urgent for policymakers to address.”
Dr. Nisha Arunatilake
Addressing an urgent need
Women having access to and participating in decent work is essential for promoting gender equality. Despite multiple initiatives to increase women’s labor force participation, the gap between men’s and women’s rates remains high.
Further, women tend to be in jobs that pay less, are less likely to be covered by social protection, and are less secure than those of men. In many low-income countries, context-specific barriers can make the costs of participating in the labor market higher for women and the benefits lower.
Improving women’s labor force participation is vital for development and growth. Yet the drivers of the gender gap are not adequately understood, handicapping policy responses.
"We are seeing increased urgency among policymakers to deliver quality jobs along with social protection and respect for rights at work, for women and men alike, to achieve a sustainable and inclusive recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. But basing policies on evidence that does not reflect the variety of experiences within a population is bound to exacerbate inequalities, even if the policies are not explicitly 'gendered'. "
Prof. Jane Mariara, PEP Executive Director
By examining the legal, social, and economic barriers to women’s participation in decent work, PEP believes this initiative will generate concrete policy recommendations and allow the target countries to address these systemic barriers.
Addressing context-specific barriers to female labor force participation in decent work in: