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Social Norms as a Barrier to Women's Employment in Developing Countries (WP-20-31)

Seema Jayachandran

This article discusses cultural barriers to women's participation and success in the labor market in developing countries. The author begins by describing how gender norms influence the relationship between economic development and female employment, as well as how gender norms vary substantially across societies at the same level of economic development. She then examines several 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.
Seema Jayachandran, Professor of Economics and IPR Fellow, Northwestern University

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