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Naila Kabeer

Naila Kabeer

Professor of Gender and Development, London School of Economics and Political Science

Naila Kabeer is a social economist specialised on topics of gender, poverty, labour markets and livelihoods and social exclusion, with a particular emphasis on South and South East Asia. Having worked in an advisory capacity with the World Bank, UNDP, and the OECD, among others, she is now on the editorial boards of a number of journals and recently joined the boards of the Women’s Rights Program of the Open Society Foundations and the International Centre for Research on Women, Washington.

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BREAKING THE WALL OF GENDER INEQUALITY. How Gender Balance Can Transform the Global Economy

“Forget China, India and the internet: economic growth is driven by women”, the Economist wrote in 2006, in an article titled "A guide to womenomics". Over the past 10 years, the importance of gender equality to promote development, innovation and economic growth has been widely recognised. All over the world, political leaders, corporations and international organisations have realised that sexism is not just wrong but also expensive. Recent studies show that globally more and more women of all ages are entering paid jobs, but this has not served to equalize responsibility for unpaid domestic work within the home or to close the gender gap in earnings. Without addressing these two inequalities, women’s contributions to economic growth will be at the cost of their individual well-being and the equity of the growth process. A more inclusive pathway to growth requires several walls to be overcome: the walls that associate women with a limited range of skills, that block their access to productive assets, and the walls that assign them disproportionate responsibility for the unpaid work that reproduces people and labour on a daily and generational basis. Gender discrimination, in the form of social norms and patriarchal value systems, is still at the root of the problem, and economists like Naila Kabeer are challenging this by exploring policies that can address these structural inequalities. A professor at the Gender Institute at the London School of Economics, Naila Kabeer has been engaged in teaching, research and policy advocacy in the field of gender and development for more than 25 years. Her work on gender, poverty, livelihoods and labour markets is mainly focused on South and South East Asia, but has lessons for all regions of the developed and developing world alike. At Falling Walls, Naila demonstrates why gender equality will be a key condition for sustainable development – and how it can prepare the global economy for a more human-centred growth.

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