Gender equality is a concept implying the achievement of equality in rights between men and women in family and other legal relations. Gender equality is a necessary condition for achieving balance and harmony in the world. In the modern economy, there are processes that reduce gender inequality, such as the development of remote employment, the growing importance of intellectual and informational work, and the reduction of housework. Therefore, administrative measures aimed at improving the status of women in the economy are gradually losing their relevance.
Nevertheless, negative gender stereotypes still have a strong impact on the labor market and are the basis for discrimination. Gender inequality remains especially an acute problem in many developing countries. Women and girls all over the world are oppressed and disadvantaged in a patriarchal society. Representatives of this gender have fewer career opportunities, lower salaries, and they are more likely to be subjected to domestic or sexual violence. This annotated bibliography aims to explore the studies that have been conducted in regard to the gender aspect of economic inequality.
Harkness (2018) explores and explains in her study how inequality is being shaped by gender, especially in high-income countries. The author indicates that gender gaps related to income and employment have been changing throughout the years, and today, there is a tendency to reduce female employment inequalities, which results in reduced income gaps. Moreover, the study also provides valuable findings: for example, Harkness (2018) states that “less educated women are much less likely to work for pay, than those with higher levels of education” (113). Education is said to be the driving force for the reduction of gender economic inequalities, as the results clearly indicate.
The study conducted by Ortiz-Ospina and Roser (2018) represents the general overview of gender economic inequalities in the world. The authors give a comprehensive insight into the issue, stating that, overall, women tend to be underrepresented in senior job positions, as well as underpaid, as opposed to men. Moreover, the results also show that women have less influence over important household decisions, even regarding their personal income spending. Nevertheless, Ortiz-Ospina and Roser (2018) also state that “on the whole gender inequalities have been shrinking substantially over the last century” (para. 10). It is clear that, while still acute, the issue of gender economic inequality is slowly being resolved.
COVID-19 pandemic has deeply affected the world’s economy in all aspects. Massive lockdowns proved to be an effective way of stopping the spread of disease until the vaccines were finally developed. It is clear that the pandemic affected male and female workers differently. The study performed by Farré et al. (2020) provides valuable insight into the pandemic’s consequences for paid and unpaid workers in Spain in regard to gender inequalities. According to the authors (2020), the employment rates before the lockdowns were slightly lower for women than for men, and that tendency persisted after the pandemic. Moreover, the results show that women were also slightly more likely to lose their jobs during the lockdowns, increasing gender inequalities in Spain in the short term.
The study performed by Kristal and Yaish (2020) also explores the consequences of a pandemic for gender inequality. Authors explore whether the pandemic has helped in leveling out the gender inequality curve – however, it is stated from the start that it, in fact, has not. The data for the research was collected in Israel and provided the pictures before and after the lockdowns. Kristal and Yaish (2020) state that “the consequences of the economic downturn following the coronavirus for gender equality are harsh, with women’s employment and income more severely affected than men’s” (100520). It can be concluded that the pandemic, while affecting both genders severely, had influenced women more heavily than men all around the world.
The research conducted by Asongu and Odhiambo (2018) explores the issue of gender inequality in relation to the economy in sub-Saharan Africa. The authors state that gender inequality and economic exclusion are two long-standing issues of the region. In their study, authors try to identify the quantitative limits of inequality that should not be crossed if the government wants to promote further gender economic participation. The study was longitudinal and collected data from 42 countries of the sub-Saharan African region. Thus, the implications of it are rather valuable: gender inequality levels should not exceed certain marks if the region wants women to fully participate in the economy.
A similar study is presented by Kennedy et al. (2020) regarding the relationship between the gender wage gap and labor productivity in Australia. It is stated in the research that the gender wage gap in Australia is widening despite the high level of economic development, thus, the issue stands acute. According to the authors (2020), “using four different estimation methods, we find that reducing the gap by 10% can boost per capita output up to 3%” (14). Those results prove the importance of addressing the economic inequalities related to gender for policymakers.
Looking at how different countries manage gender-related economic inequalities, it would be useful to evaluate the results from European countries. The study by Krinickiene (2017) addresses the Lithuanian experience on the matter. The author states that women face more struggles and economic challenges than men due to prevailing gender stereotypes, which in turn affects their participation in the country’s economy. Krinickiene (2017) adds that “position of Lithuanian women requires special measures to be taken in the fields of income, material deprivation, vulnerability reduction and other spheres” (471). This research indicates that, despite continuous attempts by European Union to establish gender equality in Europe, the issue is still largely unresolved, especially in economically challenged countries such as Lithuania.
The issue of gender-based economic inequality appears to persist worldwide. Ulfa et al. (2020) provide valuable insights into gender economic inequality in Indonesia. Authors emphasize that there are many aspects to the issue: gaps in income, labor participation rates, unemployment rates, education, and wages. The study shows that women’s participation in the economy of Indonesia is currently very low. However, the inequality rates have been steadily, if slowly, declining in the past decade. Still, the country has yet to overcome many challenges, and the authors propose several interventions that might help dissuade the gaps. For example, better access to education and skill training and a mothers-friendly work environment would be helpful for the Indonesian case.
The study conducted by Geisser (2018) explores a quite specific aspect of gender-related economic tendencies: cryopreservation of eggs as the benefit big corporations offer their female workers. The author (2018) argues that “while potentially beneficial in the short term to recruit women and diversify the workplace, egg freezing coverage is more likely to disrupt a restructuring of the societal norms of gender roles” (180). Geisser states that cryopreservation of eggs offered as a benefit for women is more of a short-term solution in the evasion of more transformative interventions regarding parental-related workplace issues.
Lastly, the study by Blake et al. (2018) examines female sexualization on social media in relation to two important factors: gender inequality and income inequality. In the era of digitalization, female sexualization in social media has been steadily increasing, thus, the need to study the issue has arisen. The main finding that the authors emphasize is that female sexualization rises in response to economic conditions and is more likely to increase in economically unequal conditions. Moreover, sexualization is tied more tightly to economic inequalities in more developed countries. Thus, it can be concluded that in environments where women are pushed to compete for socioeconomic status, sexualization increases correspondingly.
Usually, the problem of equality is approached only from the side of oppression of women and their disadvantageous position in a patriarchal society. They have fewer career opportunities, lower wages, and women are more likely to experience domestic or sexual violence. At the moment, however, labeling and oppression of either gender are stopping the development of society, and the studies reviewed above support that claim. The patriarchal structure of social relations is already outdated: a man is no longer obliged to be the only worker, and a woman is not obliged to be only a wife and a mother. Inequality negatively affects the economy: there is not a single country where economic inequality and its effects would be minimized. Thus, it becomes increasingly important to address gender-related economic inequality, as it stalls the development of any country and negatively affects the global economy as a whole.
Asongu, Simplice A., and Nicholas M. Odhiambo. “Inequality thresholds, governance and gender economic inclusion in sub-Saharan Africa.” International Review of Applied Economics, vol. 34, no. 1, 2019, pp. 94–114. Web.
Blake, Khandis R., et al. “Income inequality not gender inequality positively covaries with female sexualization on social media.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 115, no. 35, 2018, pp. 8722–8727. Web.
Farré, Lídia et al. “How the COVID-19 lockdown affected gender inequality in paid and unpaid work in Spain.” Social & Personality Psychology eJournal. 2020.
Geisser, Lauren. “Gender norms, economic inequality, and social egg freezing: Why company egg freezing benefits will do more harm than good.” UCLA Women’s Law Journal, vol. 25, no. 2, 2018. Web.
Harkness, Susan. “Chapter 7: Gender and economic inequality.” Handbook on Gender and Social Policy, edited by Sheila Shaver, Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham, UK, 2020, pp. 113–128.
Kennedy, Tom, et al. “Reducing gender wage inequality increases economic prosperity for all: Insights from Australia.” Economic Analysis and Policy, vol. 55, 2017, pp. 14–24. Web.
Krinickiene, Egle. “Social economic inequality from the gender perspective: Lithuanian case.” Eurasian Studies in Business and Economics, 2017, pp. 471–484. Web.
Kristal, Tali, and Meir Yaish. “Does the coronavirus pandemic level the gender inequality curve? (It doesn’t).” Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, vol. 68, 2020, p. 100520. Web.
Ortiz-Ospina, Esteban, and Max Roser. “Economic inequality by gender.” Our World in Data. 2018. Web.
Ulfa, Maria, et al. “Portrait of gender economic inequality in Indonesia.” East African Scholars Journal of Economics, Business and Management, vol. 3, no. 1, 2020, pp. 79–85.