Atlas of Gender and Development

How Social Norms Affect Gender Equality in non-OECD Countries

image of Atlas of Gender and Development

Illustrated with graphics and maps, the Atlas of Gender and Development gives readers a unique insight into the impact of social institutions − traditions, social norms and cultural practices − on gender equality in 124 non-OECD countries.

Gender inequality holds back not just women but the economic and social development of entire societies. Overcoming discrimination is important in the fight against poverty in developing countries and for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Tackling these inequalities is not easy: in many countries, discrimination against women is deeply rooted in social institutions such as the family and the law. These long-lasting codes of conduct, norms, traditions, and informal and formal laws determine gender  outcomes in education, health, political representation and labour markets.



OECD Development Centre

Tunisia is a unique example of successful gender equality-related reform in an Arab and Muslim country. Within a few months in 1956, the government changed the former family code and accelerated the enrolment of girls in primary and secondary schools. By the 1980s, enrolment rates for both girls and boys were very high. The 1956 reform, led by President Habib Bourguiba, banned polygamy and repudiation, promoted consensual marriage and introduced equal divorce proceedings. However, there remains a gap between laws and their enforcement, particularly in rural areas.


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