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West African Papers

The West African Papers series explores African socio-economic, political and security dynamics from a regional and multidisciplinary perspective. It seeks to stimulate discussion and gather information to better anticipate the changes that will shape future policies. The series is designed for a wide audience of specialists, development practitioners, decision makers and the informed public. Papers are available in English and/or French, and summaries are available in both languages. Initiated by the Sahel and West Africa Club (SWAC) to highlight and promote West African issues, the work presented is prepared by its Secretariat, Members and partners, other OECD departments, related international organisations, associated experts and researchers.

English French

Gender Inequality in West African Social Institutions

Discriminatory social institutions – formal and informal laws, social norms and practices – restrict women’s rights and empowerment opportunities across 17 West African countries. New laws and measures to protect and promote women’s economic, political and human rights have been accompanied by impressive reductions in gender gaps. However, discriminatory social institutions still constitute significant impediments to women’s access to land assets and restrict women’s physical integrity and decision-making power in both private and public spheres. This holds back women’s education and economic empowerment, thereby decreasing countries’ potential growth. The data and analysis based on the OECD Development Centre’s Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) aims to provide policy makers with the necessary tools and evidence to design more effective gender-responsive policies. Putting social institutions at the core of policy responses may open new and sustainable vistas to promote gender equality in national and regional development agendas.

English French

Keywords: gender inequality, West Africa, social institutions, women
JEL: J16: Labor and Demographic Economics / Demographic Economics / Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination; K38: Law and Economics / Other Substantive Areas of Law / Human Rights Law; Gender Law; N37: Economic History / Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy / Economic History: Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy: Africa; Oceania
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