The status of women has improved considerably in most
developing countries in the past quarter century. Yet in no region
do women enjoy equal legal, social, and economic rights. Women have
fewer resources than men, and more limited economic opportunities
and political participation. Women and girls bear the most direct
cost of these inequalitiesbut the harm ultimately extends
to everyone. Because gender gaps are often largest and most costly
among the poor, gender equality is a core development issue.
inequalities persist because they are supported by social norms
and legal institutions, by the choices and behaviors of households,
and by regulations and incentives that affect the way economies
function. Achieving gender equality in education will make a difference.