All over the world, and throughout history, women have been looked down upon. Oftentimes being seen as less than or incapable of doing a man’s job. This is an even greater problem in third world nations. The global gender wage gap is an estimated 23%, meaning that on average, women get paid 77 cents on every man’s dollar. The irony of this is that if women were more involved in the labor force, it would only benefit the economy.
One major issue for women in third world countries is the lack of working opportunities. Additionally, even if they do have the chance to work, many women in developing regions work in informal labor, low-paying, insecure jobs, such as agriculture, domestic work, and small-scale businesses. These roles often lack legal protections and access to social safety nets, leaving women vulnerable to exploitation and economic instability. Informal labor also tends to limit their ability to save their money in their own bank accounts. Many women in less fortunate countries do not have control over what the money they earn is spent on, which makes it near impossible for them to take on personal initiatives in order to be independent.
Increasing access to education is a critical aspect needed to expand women’s economic opportunity, especially in developing nations. All over the world, women are underrepresented in many educational fields, and this is worsened by many cultural norms where female education is seen as a privilege and is placed at a lower priority than male education. In reality, this notion is completely false. In fact, investment in equal education for both men and women would only increase economic productivity. Expanded education accounts for an estimated 50 per cent of the economic growth in OECD countries in the past 50 years. If women’s education was just as high of a priority as men’s education, many struggling countries could reach much larger development and fiscal success.
Women also tend to have a tremendous benefit when placed in corporate leadership roles. It has been shown that companies with 3 or more women in senior management positions tend to score higher in all categories of business performance. By addressing these challenges, we should all aim to create more inclusive and equitable societies where women can contribute to and benefit from the growth of their nations' economies. Promoting gender equality and women's economic participation in third-world countries is not only a matter of social justice but also a crucial step toward sustainable economic development.
Abdi, Aisha. “Women are the key to economic development in third-world countries.” King's College London, 28 August 2019, https://www.kcl.ac.uk/news/women-are-the-key-to-economic-development-in-third-world-countries. Accessed 6 November 2023.
Bery, Suman, et al. “Empowering Women Is Smart Economics -- Finance & Development, March 2012.” International Monetary Fund, https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/fandd/2012/03/revenga.htm. Accessed 6 November 2023.
“Facts and Figures: Economic Empowerment.” UN Women, https://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/economic-empowerment/facts-and-figures. Accessed 6 November 2023.