The “missing women” phenomenon is a sharp reminder of gender disparity. Amartya Sen introduced the phrase in a now-classic piece for the New York Review of Books (Sen 1990) to illustrate how the proportion of women is lower than what would be predicted if girls and women worldwide in developing nations experienced birth and death rates that were equal to or lower than those in sub-Saharan Africa.
According to the World Bank (2011), 6 million women are thought to go missing annually. Of them, 23% are never born, 10% are lost in infancy, 21% are absent throughout reproductive years, and 38% are above 60. Despite how stark the excess mortality is, it fails to represent that women in poor nations are treated differently than their brothers throughout their lives, even before birth, and trail behind men in many areas. Many more women do not receive the education, employment, or political power they would have if they had been males for every lost woman.
The key to achieving gender equality is to increase women’s economic empowerment, but persistent social norms and prejudice still prevent women from succeeding in the workforce. In developing and developing economies, women are less likely to work than males, and their involvement in the labour force is constrained. 2.7 billion Women worldwide are prohibited by laws from holding equivalent jobs to men. 18 nations still permitted husbands to forbid their wives from working in 2018. Furthermore, at least one law restricting women’s access to the workforce exists in 104 different nations.
In addition, COVID-19 has made it necessary for women to abandon the workforce in large numbers; during the first year of the pandemic, 54 million women worldwide were unemployed, with women of colour being struck the hardest.
To participate equally in markets, control their finances, and reap the rewards of their labour, women and girls must be economically empowered. Women’s full economic engagement is believed to improve business performance and promote economic growth.
Invest in women-owned businesses and organizations.
Around the world, grassroots women’s organizations and movements are underfunded and attacked. In developing nations, about 70% of small- and medium-sized businesses are either unserved or neglected financially.
Additionally, women are less likely to start their businesses and face more challenges. Without funding, women’s organizations would be unable to support activities that would decrease inequality and increase possibilities for their communities. Given that women often spend 80% of their income on the welfare and education of their families, investing in women’s businesses helps prepare the way for the next generation.
Websites like https://www.government-grants-for-women.net help women and young girls globally for grants to help them survive and live prosperous life.
Make sure women are adequately prepared to engage in the economy.
Women are less likely to have official bank accounts and borrow money than men. Even when women have their own accounts, men may still decide how to utilize their money. Due to a lack of financial education, women frequently do not have access to additional financial services like savings and insurance. Women are sometimes prohibited from opening bank accounts without the consent of a male family member.
Women may benefit from having access to resources like bank accounts and credit. Women’s financial inclusion can be improved via gender-disaggregated data, financial literacy programmes, changing the law to allow women to apply for loans without the consent of a male relative, and supporting the development of digital payment systems.
Implement laws and social safety nets for women.
Social safeguards like pensions, unemployment benefits, maternity protection, and equal pay are less likely to be available to women. The gender pay gap must be closed to level the playing field because women typically earn between 60% and 75% less than males.
Childcare is a game-changer for families who can’t afford to miss work to take care of their families. Workers with children, irrespective of gender, benefit from flexible work arrangements to more equally distribute the home labour load. Poor women would particularly benefit from paid maternity leave and child care. In any economy, a 2% investment in child care leads to 6% economic growth.
Recognize unpaid labour as work.
Unpaid care work includes home chores like cooking, cleaning, collecting water and firewood, and looking after children or older people, which women frequently do. Every day, unpaid care work is estimated to take about 16 billion hours. Although unpaid domestic and care work makes a significant economic contribution to nations, it is not considered real work.
According to estimates, the value of unpaid domestic and care work ranges from 10% to 39% of the nation’s gross domestic product. Lessening the burden on women and girls can be achieved by accounting for unpaid care work in statistics, recognizing its importance to the economy, paying women for their efforts, and considering unpaid care work when formulating policy.
Create jobs that are respectable for women.
In rural areas without protections or livable wages, women are more likely to work in the informal economy and are overrepresented in domestic work. Women must have equal access to management positions, benefits, new technology, education, training, and all other forms of advancement. Additionally, workplaces must be safe, up to the health code, support equitable pay, and be free of sexual harassment and other forms of violence. It has been demonstrated that firms expand and operate more effectively when women have more job and leadership options.
The treatment of women is the finest indicator of a country’s growth, according to a society of considerable intelligence and influence. Women have experienced difficulties for generations, which has given them unbounded tolerance and tenacity and made them more robust.
The cornerstone of fundamental human rights is gender equality, essential in our quest for a more peaceful, progressive, and sustainable world. It is inevitable for the gender gap to narrow, and this is made feasible by providing women with equal opportunity and representation.