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Social Norms as a Barrier to Women's Employment in Developing Countries (WP-19-31)

Seema Jayachandran

This paper discusses cultural barriers to women's participation and success in the labor market in developing countries. Jayachandran begins by describing how gender norms in the relationship between economic development and female employment, as well as how gender norms differ substantially across societies at the same level of economic development. She then discusses in more detail specific gender-related social norms and how they constrain women's employment. She presents examples of policies aimed at dismantling these cultural barriers to female employment and the impacts they have.

This paper is published in IMF Economic Review.

Seema Jayachandran, Professor of Economics and IPR Fellow, Northwestern University

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