Gender

Gender Balance Index 2024 launch

To launch the 11th edition of the Gender Balance Index, the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum's Sustainable Policy Institute is hosting a virtual event on April 10. The launch will feature high-level keynotes and discussions on the latest global gender actions and policies. IMF's Martin Cihak and Rishi Goyal will participate.

Watch live April 10, 2024 at 10:00 AM ET

Overview

Despite significant progress in recent decades, labor markets across the world remain divided along gender lines. Female labor force participation has remained lower than male participation, gender wage gaps are high, and women are overrepresented in the informal sector and among the poor. In many countries, legal restrictions persist which constrain women from developing their full economic potential.

While equality between men and women is in itself an important development goal, women's economic participation is also a part of the growth and stability equation. In rapidly aging economies, higher female labor force participation can boost growth by mitigating the impact of a shrinking workforce. Better opportunities for women can also contribute to broader economic development in developing economies, for instance through higher levels of school enrollment for girls.

Interim Guidance Note on Mainstreaming Gender at the IMF

This interim note provides general guidance on the operationalization of the IMF’s Strategy Toward Mainstreaming Gender. It offers a comprehensive overview of how IMF staff can integrate macrocritical gender issues into the IMF’s core areas of surveillance, lending, and capacity development. Key topics include i) identifying and assessing macrocritical gender gaps; ii) the “light touch” and “deep dive” approaches; iii) early insights on integrating gender into IMF-supported programs; iv) capacity development on gender or with a gender lens; v) synergies with other workstreams and vi) the importance of collaboration. It also includes summaries and links to relevant tools, databases, IMF staff reports, and relevant literature.

Read the note

What is the IMF's Strategy for Gender?

IMF Strategy Toward Mainstreaming Gender

Mainstreaming gender at the IMF starts with the recognition that reducing gender disparities goes hand-in-hand with higher economic growth, greater economic stability and resilience, and lower income inequality. At the same time, economic and financial policies can exacerbate or narrow gender disparities. Well-designed macroeconomic, structural, and financial policies can support efficient and inclusive outcomes and equitably benefit women, girls, and the society in general. The strategy lays out how the IMF can help its member countries address gender disparities in the context of carrying out its core functions—surveillance, lending, and capacity development. The strategy comprises four key pillars: first, gender-disaggregated data collection and development of modeling tools to enable staff to conduct policy analysis; second, a robust governance framework for an evenhanded approach across members based on the macro-criticality of gender; third, strengthening collaboration with external partners to benefit from knowledge sharing and peer learning, leverage complementarities, and maximize the impact on the ground; and fourth, the efficient use of resources allocated to gender by putting in place a central unit for realizing scale economies and supporting country teams.

Read the Strategy

International Women's Day 2024

REWATCH | A special International Women's Day event with IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva and World Food Programme Executive Director Cindy McCain. Moderated by IMF African Department Director Abebe Aemro Selassie, where the discussion focused on personal career journeys, investing in women and girls and much more.

Recent Events

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Kristalina Georgieva, Melinda French Gates, Hon. Zainab Ahmed, and Sima Sami Bahous discussed how the IMF, governments, and others can work together to help reduce gender gaps.

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Toward Peak Population
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Senior Advisor on Gender joined a panel discussion on the future of global population growth, and the pressures and opportunities it presents for women and girls.

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Women in Finance
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Discussion on why more women are needed in the financial sector, especially in leadership positions, and how this can help with financial sector stability and inclusive growth.

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Gender Equality
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"Gender Equality Boosts Economic Growth and Stability:" remarks by Gita Gopinath, IMF First Deputy Managing Director, delivered at the Korea Gender Equality Forum.

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IMF Gender Strategy
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At the Center for Global Development, IMF's Ratna Sahay presented the recently approved IMF Strategy Toward Mainstreaming Gender, followed by a panel discussion.

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Latest Research and Publications

Economists Offer Fresh Takes on Inflation, Inequality, Technology
December 20, 2023

Latest books provide analytical and anecdotal accounts of the greatest challenges—and the perspective that comes with time

Countries That Close Gender Gaps See Substantial Growth Returns
September 27, 2023

Empowering women economically is a powerful engine of inclusive growth

Women Struggle for Equal Pay and Progression at Central Banks
May 9, 2023

A new survey reveals the gender gap persists

How to Close Gender Gaps and Grow the Global Economy
September 8, 2022

Capturing the dividends from women’s economic equity. Too many women are locked out of economic opportunities, which is not only unfair but also harms growth and resilience for all. 

Gender Budgeting Is More Widespread But Implementation Remains a Challenge
March 8, 2022

The pandemic has deepened long-standing gender gaps, with women continuing to bear the burden of unpaid work. By structuring spending and taxation in ways that advance gender equality—a process called gender budgeting—governments can help close the gap.

How Empowering Women Supports Economic Growth
March 7, 2022

International Women’s Day, first recognized by the United Nations in 1977, grew from early 1900s labor movements for better working conditions and women’s right to work.

Gender Equality and Economic Development in Sub-Saharan Africa
April 11, 2024

Efforts to achieve gender equality will not only help sub-Saharan Africa revive its inclusive growth engine but also will ensure progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals and help address the main disruptive challenges of this century. This book explores the progress made in gender equality in the region, highlighting both the challenges and successes in areas such as legal reforms; education; health; gender-based violence; harmful practices, such as child marriage; and financial inclusion. It takes stock of initiatives towards integrating gender into core macroeconomic and structural reforms, such as through implementing gender budgeting and examines the role that fiscal and other policies can play in closing gender gaps when they are mindful of distributional impacts. Drawing from extensive research across different institutions, the book underscores the macroeconomic significance of gender equality, emphasizing its potential to drive GDP growth, enhance economic stability, reduce income inequality, and foster sustainable development. It lays out how gender gaps interact with emerging challenges, such as digitalization, and explores the impact of global megatrends, such as climate change, on gender inequality, offering strategies for inclusive policy responses—including in a context where women and girls are still carrying a disproportionate care burden that is often not captured in economic measurement. The book aims to serve as a roadmap for policymakers, stakeholders, and advocates seeking to harness the untapped potential of gender equality—for its own sake and for the region's inclusive, sustainable, and green development. It calls for concerted efforts to dismantle structural barriers, transform social norms, and prioritize gender-responsive policies to unlock the full economic potential of sub-Saharan Africa.

Gender and Business Cycles
April 4, 2024

This note reviews the literature on the complex relationship between gender and business cycles. It focuses on nuanced patterns that challenge the notion of gender neutrality in economic fluctuations. The note also analyzes dimensions, such as unemployment, income risk, hours worked, and responses to monetary and fiscal policy shocks, and documents distinctive disparities.

Angola: Selected Issues
March 27, 2024

Selected Issues

From HydroCarbon to Hightech: Mapping the Economic Transformation of Qatar
February 21, 2024

Qatar’s state-led, hydrocarbon intensive growth model has delivered rapid growth and substantial improvements in living standards over the past several decades. Guided by the National Vision 2030, an economic transformation is underway toward a more dynamic, diversified, knowledge-based, sustainable, and private sector-led growth model. As Qatar is finalizing its Third National Development Strategy to make the final leap toward Vision 2030, this paper aims to identify key structural reforms needed, quantify their potential impact on the economy, and shed light on the design of a comprehensive reform agenda ahead. The paper finds that labor market reforms could bring substantial benefits, particularly reforms related to increasing the share of skilled foreign workers. Certain reforms to further improve the business environment, such as improving access to finance, could also have large growth impact. A comprehensive, well-integrated, and properly sequenced reform package to exploit complementarities across reforms could boost Qatar’s potential growth significantly.

Macroeconomic and Distributional Implications of Gender Gaps: The Gambia
February 15, 2024

We present the current status of labor market gender gaps in The Gambia and examine the macroeconomic and distributional gains from closing the gaps. We also study the impacts of high costs of living and the determinants of poverty. Closing labor market gender gaps, would significantly boost GDP, government revenues, women’s earnings, and reduce income inequality. High food costs adversely affect the levels of consumption in the bottom four quartiles of the income distribution. Lack of access to finance, living in rural areas, lack of employment, low levels of education, and exposure to climate shocks contribute to higher poverty levels.

Qatar: Selected Issues
February 7, 2024

Selected Issues

Economists Offer Fresh Takes on Inflation, Inequality, Technology
December 20, 2023

Latest books provide analytical and anecdotal accounts of the greatest challenges—and the perspective that comes with time

Countries That Close Gender Gaps See Substantial Growth Returns
September 27, 2023

Empowering women economically is a powerful engine of inclusive growth

Women Struggle for Equal Pay and Progression at Central Banks
May 9, 2023

A new survey reveals the gender gap persists

How to Close Gender Gaps and Grow the Global Economy
September 8, 2022

Capturing the dividends from women’s economic equity. Too many women are locked out of economic opportunities, which is not only unfair but also harms growth and resilience for all. 

Gender Budgeting Is More Widespread But Implementation Remains a Challenge
March 8, 2022

The pandemic has deepened long-standing gender gaps, with women continuing to bear the burden of unpaid work. By structuring spending and taxation in ways that advance gender equality—a process called gender budgeting—governments can help close the gap.

How Empowering Women Supports Economic Growth
March 7, 2022

International Women’s Day, first recognized by the United Nations in 1977, grew from early 1900s labor movements for better working conditions and women’s right to work.

Gender Equality and Economic Development in Sub-Saharan Africa
April 11, 2024

Efforts to achieve gender equality will not only help sub-Saharan Africa revive its inclusive growth engine but also will ensure progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals and help address the main disruptive challenges of this century. This book explores the progress made in gender equality in the region, highlighting both the challenges and successes in areas such as legal reforms; education; health; gender-based violence; harmful practices, such as child marriage; and financial inclusion. It takes stock of initiatives towards integrating gender into core macroeconomic and structural reforms, such as through implementing gender budgeting and examines the role that fiscal and other policies can play in closing gender gaps when they are mindful of distributional impacts. Drawing from extensive research across different institutions, the book underscores the macroeconomic significance of gender equality, emphasizing its potential to drive GDP growth, enhance economic stability, reduce income inequality, and foster sustainable development. It lays out how gender gaps interact with emerging challenges, such as digitalization, and explores the impact of global megatrends, such as climate change, on gender inequality, offering strategies for inclusive policy responses—including in a context where women and girls are still carrying a disproportionate care burden that is often not captured in economic measurement. The book aims to serve as a roadmap for policymakers, stakeholders, and advocates seeking to harness the untapped potential of gender equality—for its own sake and for the region's inclusive, sustainable, and green development. It calls for concerted efforts to dismantle structural barriers, transform social norms, and prioritize gender-responsive policies to unlock the full economic potential of sub-Saharan Africa.

Gender and Business Cycles
April 4, 2024

This note reviews the literature on the complex relationship between gender and business cycles. It focuses on nuanced patterns that challenge the notion of gender neutrality in economic fluctuations. The note also analyzes dimensions, such as unemployment, income risk, hours worked, and responses to monetary and fiscal policy shocks, and documents distinctive disparities.

Angola: Selected Issues
March 27, 2024

Selected Issues

From HydroCarbon to Hightech: Mapping the Economic Transformation of Qatar
February 21, 2024

Qatar’s state-led, hydrocarbon intensive growth model has delivered rapid growth and substantial improvements in living standards over the past several decades. Guided by the National Vision 2030, an economic transformation is underway toward a more dynamic, diversified, knowledge-based, sustainable, and private sector-led growth model. As Qatar is finalizing its Third National Development Strategy to make the final leap toward Vision 2030, this paper aims to identify key structural reforms needed, quantify their potential impact on the economy, and shed light on the design of a comprehensive reform agenda ahead. The paper finds that labor market reforms could bring substantial benefits, particularly reforms related to increasing the share of skilled foreign workers. Certain reforms to further improve the business environment, such as improving access to finance, could also have large growth impact. A comprehensive, well-integrated, and properly sequenced reform package to exploit complementarities across reforms could boost Qatar’s potential growth significantly.

Macroeconomic and Distributional Implications of Gender Gaps: The Gambia
February 15, 2024

We present the current status of labor market gender gaps in The Gambia and examine the macroeconomic and distributional gains from closing the gaps. We also study the impacts of high costs of living and the determinants of poverty. Closing labor market gender gaps, would significantly boost GDP, government revenues, women’s earnings, and reduce income inequality. High food costs adversely affect the levels of consumption in the bottom four quartiles of the income distribution. Lack of access to finance, living in rural areas, lack of employment, low levels of education, and exposure to climate shocks contribute to higher poverty levels.

Qatar: Selected Issues
February 7, 2024

Selected Issues