Despite numerous initiatives by different countries to facilitate female labour force participation (LFP), the gap between men’s and women’s rates remains high. The importance of improving female LFP for development and growth is well recognised, yet the drivers of the gender gap are not adequately understood, handicapping policy responses. There is increasing evidence that social norms, social infrastructure, and the legal context of country that shape the labour market environment influence female access to decent work.
Using readily available secondary data bases developed by the World Bank and the International Labour Organization, this study will examine context-specific barriers to female LFP in developing countries, using a cross-country analysis. Barriers to female access to decent work will be examined through four main dimensions: 1) the legal system governing labour markets; 2) social infrastructure; 3) social norms within workplaces, that influence treatment of men and women in the workplace; and 4) social norms outside the workplace, which determine the female access to different types of work.