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Governance and Women's Economic and Political Participation: Power Inequalities, Formal Constraints and Norms

Annamaria Milazzo and Markus Goldstein ()

World Bank Research Observer, 2019, vol. 34, issue 1, 34-64

Abstract: Have institutional reforms been successful in reducing persistent gender gaps in economic and political participation? This paper argues that, at the roots of current gender inequalities, there are traditional patriarchal social structures in which power is unequally distributed, with men traditionally holding authority over women. The power imbalance is manifested in governance arrangements, of which we consider discriminatory formal laws and informal normative systems that perpetuate gender inequality. We review the evidence on the effectiveness of reforms addressing gender inequality and applied via formal law changes. Given the possibility of endogeneity issues as reforms may have been adopted in countries where attitudes toward women had already been improving, we focus on micro-empirical studies that tackle this challenge. The evidence suggests that some reforms have been successful in reducing inequalities. Power and norms can shift and sometimes temporary interventions can deliver long-term results.

Keywords: Gender inequality; governance arrangements; informal norms; institutional reforms (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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