Social Norms as a Barrier to Women's Employment in Developing Countries
This article discusses cultural barriers to women's participation and success in the labor market in developing countries. I begin 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. I then examine several specific gender-related social norms and how they constrain women's employment. I present examples of policies aimed at dismantling these cultural barriers to female employment and the impacts they have.
I thank Christine Cai, Rebecca Dizon-Ross, and Akhila Kovvuri for helpful comments and UNU WIDER for providing financial support for this work. The views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.