Patterns of economic growth differ in quantity and quality of employment. This, in turn, shapes women’s and men’s prospects of finding work that provides good terms and conditions. This paper reviews evidence on globalisation has impacted the real economy, in terms of employment and social conditions of work for women and men across a wide range of countries. For its evidence base, the paper draws on an extensive body of empirical literature, including UNRISD’s own commissioned research.
In the paper concerns are raised that dominant macroeconomic policies have, over the past three decades, performed poorly in terms of generating sufficient employment that is of decent quality for men and women. It is argued that the established policy approach of tight monetary and fiscal policies, and free trade and capital flows, has not proved to be conducive for either widespread development or extensive improvements in well-being and gender equality. There is growing support for alternative macroeconomic policies that, while aiming for macroeconomic stability, take more heed of development and social goals.
It is also argued that society as a whole needs to seek a better balance between the provision of unpaid care work and paid labour, facilitating greater gender equality in both domains. For many developing countries, attaining gender equality requires strengthening publicly accountable systems and institutions. This means investing in quality, accessible public health, education and care services that can also become a source of decent employment and broad-based and redistributive social protection programmes. (Edited from author’s executive summary).