Your excellency, Dear Sir / Madam,

We have just published our eleventh set of papers, this time focused on Gender Equality.
 
Improving the lives of women, half the world’s population, is undoubtedly a worthy goal – but how do we best accomplish this? Women lag men in numerous social, political and economic indicators that it seems difficult to know where to start. However, in a new paper on gender equality, Professor Irma Clots-Figueras sheds light on this complex issue. 

What’s the smartest target to improve the lives of women?

Ensure women have control over their bodies and reproductive decisions. This will likely generate benefits of $120 per dollar spent, because it will not only prevent deaths and illness during pregnancy and birth, but also increase investment in education of the next generation, leading to large productivity increases along with a sizable demographic dividend.
 
The next recommendations are to empower women economically and to ensure more female education. These targets benefit women $7, and $5 respectively, for every dollar spent.

Gender Equality Targets Benefit For Every Dollar Spent
Improve access to sexual and reproductive health for all women. $120
Improve women’s access to economic opportunities. $7
Increase the number of years of education attained by women. $5
Ensure equal rights of women to own and inherit property, sign a contract, register a business and open a bank account. Likely
To Be High
Increase women’s political representation. Likely
To Be High
Reduce violence against girls and women. Unknown
but costs likely to be high, and effectiveness uncertain
Reduce child marriage. Unknown
but costs likely to be high, and effectiveness uncertain

Then there are two legal-political targets where the benefits are likely to be large, and the costs seem low, namely ensuring equal rights (property, contracts, business registration and banking) and increasing political representation of women.
 
However, the paper recommends we do NOT include absolute targets on ending violence and child marriage. Why? Because we don’t even know how to end violence, and to the extent we can, stopping the last one percent of violence will be phenomenally expensive. A more realistic target is to “reduce violence against girls and women” and “reduce child marriage”. Unfortunately, there is little economic evidence to suggest whether this will be a good or poor target. Thus, a focus on reproductive rights, education and empowering women economically will have much more certain benefits, a high benefit-cost ratio and indirectly help by both reducing violence and delaying marriage.

You can read all of the reports at www.post2015consensus.com/genderequality
 
Here, Copenhagen Consensus Center has just released its latest research on Gender Equality targets for the post-2015 development agenda. Irma Clots–Figueras, Associate Professor, Department of Economics at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid writes the main report, peer-reviewed in perspective papers by Joyce P. Jacobsen, Professor of Economics at Wesleyan University, and by Elissa Braunstein, Associate Professor, Department of Economics at Colorado State University. Additionally, NGOs, UN agencies and stakeholders such as UN Women, ACDI/VOCA and Nordic Consulting Group Sweden present viewpoint papers concerning Clots-Figueras’ analysis.
 
Best regards,
 
Bjorn Lomborg
PhD and Adjunct Professor
President of Copenhagen Consensus Center

PS. The Post-2015 Consensus  project brings together 62 teams of economists with NGOs, international agencies and businesses to identify the targets with the greatest benefit-to-cost ratio for the UN's post-2015 development goals.  If you have questions about the project, send an email to Research Project Manager Brad Wong by replying to this email.
Each day on twitter we will be releasing the benefit-cost evaluation of a current UN OWG post-2015 target. Follow us to see how all 169 current targets rate according to leading economists.
Each day on twitter we will be releasing the benefit-cost evaluation of a current UN OWG post-2015 target. Follow us to see how all 169 current targets rate according to leading economists.
In a hurry?
Download the one page PDF summary here.


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