Policy Brief

Unblocking the Road to Women’s Market Work

Women working - sorting seeds

The process of structural transformation changes the way that people use their time. As countries grow, women in particular shift their time from home production into market work; domestic chores are marketised and opportunities expand for female workers. In developing countries though, women still face technological and cultural barriers that prevent or slow down this shift in time use towards market work. These barriers contribute to misallocation in the labour market and to large gender gaps in hours of work, labour market participation, and wages. This policy brief discusses the barriers to market work that women face in developing countries, and evidence on policies to overcome them.

This policy brief is based off the pathfinding paper, Home Production, Women’s Market Work, and Structural Transformation, written by Taryn Dinkelman and L. Rachel Ngai, a revised version of which is published in the Journal of Economic Perspectives. The authors would like to thank Stephen Yeo for his contributions to this brief.

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