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Copenhagen Consensus Center

Bill Gates for a Day: Living Conditions of Women

Assessment Paper

By Brinda Viswanathan

Women when compared to men have benefited less during the course of economic development resulting in a lowered status of well-being for women within the house, in the workplace and the community. It is well established by now that the unequal status between men and women is not due to their biological or physiological differences but a social one connoted as gender inequality. Consequently, social reformers from time to time have attempted to remedy the deeply entrenched notions in the society about women’s position.

In order to alleviate the living condition of women in this broader context financial resources are necessary but not sufficient and changes in social and cultural attitudes play a very important role. The suggestions with positive outcomes on improving women’s living condition are drawn from various country level experiences wherein the use of economic instruments is fewer and the emphasis is more often on creating social and legal institutions. Under these circumstances, it may not always be possible to measure the costs and benefits of these initiatives in monetary units alone. However, an attempt is made to illustrate the likely benefits to the countries when an opportunity to reduce gender gap is put into practice given certain costs in implementing it.