Skip to main content

Gender-sensitive economic policies in the UNECE region in the context of the economic and financial crisis


Hermelink, Ursula & Trentini, Claudia (2009). Gender-sensitive economic policies in the UNECE region in the context of the economic and financial crisis. ECE Discussion Papers Series No. 2009.3.


Gender equality is a basic human right and is as such a part of the social policy
framework. At the same time, it is a multi-faceted concept with its cultural, social,
legal, political and economic dimensions and interrelations. The prevalent practice in
most countries illustrates that traditionally, macroeconomics and gender equality have
been considered as two distinct policy areas that are independently shaped and carried out by different authorities. However, this approach fails to acknowledge the numerous interlinkages between both areas. Indeed, it is in the interest of both gender equality advocates and economic policymakers to closely cooperate. On the one hand, economic policies have an effect on gender equality through their potential to rebalance economic opportunities for both men and women and by influencing the incentive
structure of economic agents; on the other hand, gender equality has an impact on
the economy, for example through changes in labour force participation and t
he full use of human capital. This paper presents the interplay between these two
policy areas highlighting mechanisms through which they influence each other,
both under a structural - or long-term - perspective and in the context of the current economic crisis. The concluding recommendations are primarily directed to national decision-makers but also to international organizations, particularly financial institutions which influence national decision-making in the economic field. The paper is structured as follows: Section I presents mechanisms through which gender equality impacts positively on innovation, productivity and growth, and thus makes economic sense. Section II illustrates how economic policies usually
considered as gender neutral de facto
affect gender equality negatively. Based on
these theoretical considerations, Section III then highlights the active role that economic policymakers can take in promoting gender equality. Finally, Section IV identifies the risks and opportunities for gender equality induced by the current
economic and financial crisis. The conclusions take up and summarize a number of major policy directions which have been suggested throughout the paper.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

ECE Discussion Papers Series No. 2009.3


Hermelink, Ursula
Trentini, Claudia