Making The Case for Gender-Responsive Macroeconomic Policies
Macroeconomic policies seek to address the operations of an entire economy. Policymakers design and implement macroeconomic policies to support a stable economic environment, reduction in the unemployment rate, wealth creation, and improved standard of living.
There are several problems associated with gender inequality with regards to macroeconomic policies; no economy should ignore that;
1. gender equality is often viewed in isolation as a social and human rights problem
2. Lack of macroeconomic policy attention to gender is another major factor responsible for the uneven burdens of women, especially for unpaid reproductive and care work. In Nigeria, women account for about 50% of the population in the country. Therefore macroeconomic policies need to reflect their contribution to the national economic wellbeing.
3. Non- gender-responsive macroeconomic policy decisions may provoke or escalate economic crises, with women and men bearing different costs of its adverse multiplier effects. The gender-differentiated negative effects of non-gender responsive macroeconomic policies are more acute for low-income groups with less access to public services and political power.
4. According to the World Bank Report on-Unrealized Potential: the high cost of gender inequality in earnings, May 30, 2018, "globally, women account for only 38 percent of human capital wealth versus 62 percent for men. In low- and lower-middle-income countries, women account for a third or less of human capital wealth". Thus, gender inequality could hinder economic development, human capital development, and the progress of societies, with both men and women losing out on the process. In cases where women are not included in the labor force, only a particular portion is utilized, leading to the wastage of almost half a section of the entire economic workforce.
Image: The Guardian Newspapers, Nigeria
Equal Economic Opportunity Across Genders Matter
Gender equality is vital for attaining progressive and sustainable economic development and a stable environment for economic activities to thrive. The importance of an engendered macro-economic policies for any economy cannot be over-emphasized;
Gender equality in macroeconomic policy will impact the overall economic environment for realizing women's rights by increasing opportunities for paid employment, resources for policies to reduce inequalities, and the demand for women's unpaid labor.
A Gender-aware macro-economic policy will help examine the impacts of stabilization and structural adjustment programs on labor market outcomes, poverty, inequality, and household wellbeing.
Engendering Macroeconomic policies—that is, making visible the way gender relations permeate the workings of an entire economy—is the first step toward producing alternative policies that reduce gender, class and, ethnic inequalities and policies that promote human wellbeing.
To achieve gender-equitable macro-economic wellbeing, the soundness and sensibility of these macroeconomic policies should be based on the extent to which they integrate social objectives into their macroeconomic goals and achieve them.
Policies aimed at building up human capital are necessary to close the inequality gap and other inefficiencies. Thus, in addressing these challenges, should promote gender-sensitive policies. For instance, policies that aim to address women's challenges and increase their outcomes, such as investing in human capital that targets women, will go a long way in decreasing the gender inequality gap. These will also help boost the human capital stock in the economy as a whole.
When put in place, these measures and more will address the gender inequality problems, bridge the gap inherent in the macro-economic policies, and make them more gender-responsive.