Summary: In recent decades, women across the globe have made positive strides toward gender equality. Literacy rates for young women and girls are higher than ever before, while gender gaps in primary education have closed in almost all countries. In the last three decades, over half a billion women have joined the world's labor force (World Bank 2011c). Progress toward gender equality in East Asia and the Pacific has been similarly noteworthy. Most countries in the region have either reached or surpassed gender parity in education enrollments. Health outcomes for both women and men have improved significantly. Female labor force participation rates in the region are relatively high. Yet, despite considerable progress in this economically dynamic region, gender disparities persist in a number of important areas, particularly in access to economic opportunity and in voice and influence in society. For policy makers in East Asian and Pacific countries, closing these gender gaps represents an important challenge to achieving more inclusive and effective development. The East Asia and Pacific Region's significant economic growth, structural transformation, and poverty reduction in the last few decades have been associated with reduced gender inequalities in several dimensions. But growth and development have not been enough to attain gender equality in all its dimensions. This report clarifies empirically the relationship between gender and development and outlines an agenda for public action to promote gender equality in East Asian and Pacific countries.
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