Gender Discrimination and Growth: Theory and Evidence from India

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“Woman’s participation in employment outside the home is viewed as inappropriate, subtly wrong, and definitely dangerous to their chastity and womanly virtue. When a family recovers from an economic crisis or attempts to improve its status, women may be kept at home as a demonstration of the family’s morality and as a symbol of its financial security. (…) Well-off and better-educated families may send their daughters to school, but are able to afford the cultural practice of keeping women at home after schooling is complete.” [“Women and the Economy in India”]

“In terms of skill development, women are impeded by their lack of mobility, low literacy levels and prejudiced attitudes toward women. When women negotiate with banks and government officials, they are often ostracized by other men and women in their community (…). Government and bank officials have preconceived ideas of what women are capable of, and stereotypes of what is considered women’s work.” [“Chronic Hunger and the Status of Women in India”]

“There is a popular notion among many employers who feel that the men have a greater responsibility in supporting the family than the women and therefore have a greater right to the job.”
[“Report of the Survey of Women Workers’ Working Conditions in Industry”] 1 I. Introduction
Gender discrimination against women in the market place reduces the available talent in an economy, which has negative economic consequences. Gender discrimination takes many forms. Many social practices seen as normal from a religious or cultural point of view (which may have deep historical roots) leave women out of the economic mainstream. These social practices may have profound economic consequences because they do not allow society to take advantage of the talent inherent in women. This paper investigates these economic consequences. Although gender discrimination may have a myriad of other important consequences, including psychological,...
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