One of the elements that accompany the development process is the reduction in the difference between the societal roles played by men and women. As work becomes more mechanized and more mental and as fertility rates decline, the old reasons that caused major differences in the work lives of women and men tend to decline. As a consequence, gender gaps in academic achievement, career choices and labor force participation have tended to decline. But progress is quite heterogeneous across countries, levels of development and aspects of gender disparities. I have worked with Laura Tyson, Saadia Zahidi and the World Economic Forum to create the Gender Gap Report, that measures every year the gaps in education, health, employment and political representation for over 120 countries.
In most Latin American countries, for the cohorts who are now under 50 years old, women have more education than men. With Ina Ganguli and Martina Viarengo, I looked at the impact of this change on who marries whom and who stays single. We find that educated women tend to marry less than educated men and uneducated women and when they do mary they do so unusually frequently with less educated men.
We also looked across the world at how women’s labor force participation changes with education, marriage and motherhood. We are currently working on why gender gaps emerge over time in the hierarchical positions within firms. I hope to share the results soon.