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Widening gaps in enhanced capabilities

  • Categories
    Reports
  • Published
    21st Mar, 2020
  • Uneven progress: Women make greater and faster progress where their individual empowerment or social power is lower (basic capabilities). But they face a glass ceiling where they have greater responsibility, political leadership and social payoffs in markets, social life and politics (enhanced capabilities).
    • Thus, progress has been uneven as women move away from basic areas into enhanced ones, where gaps tend to be wider.
  • Disadvantaged groups fall behind in advanced capabilities: Disadvantaged groups catch up in the basic and fall behind in the enhanced, a dynamic that tends to perpetuate the unequal distribution of power.
  • Eaxmples of lack access to political participation: Women and men vote in elections at similar rates. So, there is parity in entry-level political participation, where power is very diffused. But when more concentrated political power is at stake, women appear severely underrepresented.
    • The higher the power and responsibility, the wider the gender gap— and for heads of state and government it is almost 90 percent.
    • Only 24 percent of parliamentarian seats are held by women.
    • Uneven portfolios: Women most commonly hold portfolios in environment, natural resources and energy, followed by social sectors, such as social affairs, education and family.
    • Gender characterisation of portfolios: Fewer women had portfolios in transport, economics or finance.
    • Certain disciplines are typically associated with feminine or masculine characteristics, as is also true in education and the labour market.
  • Examples of gaps in economic participation: When empowerment is basic and precarious, women are overrepresented, as for contributing family workers (typically not receiving monetary payment).
    • Empowernment gradients: Then, as economic power increases from employee to employer, and from employer to top entertainer and billionaire, the gender gap widens.
    • Poor representation at the top: Women represent only 21 percent of world’s employers and 12 percent of the top billionaires.
    • In S&P 500 companies, only 5.8 percent of CEOS are female. Although women’s overall employment by these companies might be close to parity, women are underrepresented in more senior positions
  • Example of unevenness in education: Women have reached parity in enrolment in primary education. But large differences persist in occupational choices, with the share of female graduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programmes lower than 15 percent for most countries.
  • Example of irrgularities in agriculture: Women on average comprise 43 percent of agricultural labour force in developing countries, while the share of female holders of agricultural land is only 18 percent.
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