Publication: Increasing Female Labor Force Participation

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Halim, Daniel
O’Sullivan, Michael B.
Sahay, Abhilasha
Gender gaps in labor force participation persist worldwide. Closing this gap can lead to sizeable gains for economies—a 20 percent increase in GDP per capita, on average. Female labor force participation (FLFP) remains low due to lack of skills, assets and networks, time-based constraints, limited mobility, gender discrimination in hiring and promotion, and restrictive gender norms. Effective evidence-backed policy options can increase FLFP. They include providing childcare services, disseminating information on work opportunities and returns to employment, training in socio-emotional skills, addressing norms by engaging partners and family members, and targeting women via social protection, safety net, and public-works programs. The World Bank Group actively supports countries in boosting FLFP through development policy lending, advisory and analytical work, and supporting reforms to address constraining contextual factors, including legal barriers, social norms, and gender-based violence. This note sheds light on an array of policy options that are effective or show promise in improving FLFP.
Halim, Daniel; O’Sullivan, Michael B.; Sahay, Abhilasha. 2023. Increasing Female Labor Force Participation. World Bank Group Gender Thematic Policy Notes Series; Evidence and Practice Note. © World Bank, Washington, DC. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.
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