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Promoting Female Labor Force Participation

Svetlana Pimkina and Luciana de La Flor

No 32675027, Jobs Group Papers, Notes, and Guides from The World Bank

Abstract: Women comprise half of the world’s adult population, and therefore potentially half of its labor force. Removing barriers that restrict women from entering the labor market is crucial for achieving equality, as well as to untap economic growth. The focus of this review is on female labor force participation (FLFP) instead of employment. Labor force participation captures the decision to actively engage with the labor market, while employment represents an equilibrium outcome. The distinction is often underemphasized, but it is not trivial, as these indicators move separately. Indeed, the global rate of female employment has remained high at around 94 percent, while the rate of FLFP has not yet surpassed 50 percent. This review identifies constraints around three key drivers of FLFP. First, the authors examine how constraints in endowments such as time, education, financial and social capital limit women’s participation. Second, authors review evidence on the role of internal factors such as choices, preferences, norms and beliefs on FLFP. Third, authors discuss how external constraints such as income shocks and demand-side factors inhibit active engagement in the labor market. Finally, the paper concludes with some lesson learned from policies to improve FLFP and draws up an agenda for future research.

Keywords: female labor force participation; female labor force participation rates; labor force participation by gender; access to financial products; active labor force participant; access to basic service; gender gap in education; Levels of Educational Attainment; school to work transition; conditional cash transfer program; Labor Market; female labor supply; job training program; access to finance; working age population; labor market outcome; labor market participation; long-term care insurance; labor market activity; labor supply decisions; labor market opportunities; increase in labor; demands on women; skills and education; terms of skills; diffusion of technology; age of marriage; female labor market; women in society; time and resource; barrier to woman; total fertility rate; years of schooling; literacy and numeracy; access to child; social protection scheme; expansion of education; girls with stipend; women with child; highly educated women; birth control pill; human capital accumulation; demand for consumption; global financial crisis; child care cost; care for child; access to network; share of work; proportion of woman; work at home; access network; rates of participation; part time work; access to infrastructure; gender sensitive indicator; research on woman; flexible work arrangement; equal employment opportunity; term of productivity; quality of employment; change in demand; lack of opportunity; empowerment for woman; access to capital; vocational training program; formal financial market; avenue for woman; achieving gender equality; number of assets; privileges and immunity; incentive for employer; labor market entry; skill training programs; female employment; employment rate; negative effect; elderly care; instrumental variable; financial inclusion; positive impact; fertility decline; empirical literature; labor participation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 53
Date: 2020-12-15
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-fle
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Citations: View citations in EconPapers (3)

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