Economic opportunities for women still lagging: World Bank and OECD

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008


In a recent study released by the World Bank and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), economic opportunities for women are still lagging behind opportunities for men in the developing world. Improvements have been made in women health and education, according to the study.

It is estimated that $13 billion a year will be needed to improve economic opportunities for women

The study calls for investments totaling over US$13 billion a year to achieve gender equality and women empowerment.

Danny Leipziger, World Bank Vice President for Poverty Reduction and Economic Management, said, "gender equality is key for poverty reduction and growth. Progress on women’s education is essential but not enough if we don’t improve women’s access to good jobs and credit lines, to land ownership and to income-generating activities."

The study Equality for Women: Where Do We Stand on Millennium Development Goal 3? looks at the achievements made by the developing world as laid out by the Millennium Development Goals (MD). These goals are eight international development goals that 189 United Nations member states and at least 23 international organizations have agreed to achieve by the year 2015. They include halving extreme poverty, reducing child mortality rates, fighting disease epidemics such as AIDS, and developing a global partnership for development.

Education has improved in 82 countries out of 122 and are on track to meet their MD goals. However, 19 countries, 13 of which are in Sub- Saharan Africa, are seriously off track to meet their target.

The United Nations will hold a conference on Thursday at the annual session of the UN in New York to discuss the Millennium Development Goals.