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Library Bhutan Gender Policy Note

Bhutan Gender Policy Note

Bhutan Gender Policy Note

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Date of publication
January 2014
Resource Language
ISBN / Resource ID

Bhutan has undergone a major
socio-economic transformation over the past few decades.
Today, as a middle-income country guided by the unique
development philosophy of Gross National Happiness, it
continues to develop rapidly and become more integrated into
the global economy. Coinciding with its development, Bhutan
has also made considerable strides in closing gaps in gender
equality. The analysis of the Gender Policy Note (GPN)
focuses on specific issues related to economic empowerment.
It analyzes patterns related to specific aspects of the
economic empowerment of both men and women by applying the
analytical framework of the 2012 World Development Report on
Gender and Development to the Bhutan context. For the areas
of focus, the report examines overall indicators on gender
and identifies areas where gender gaps persist: agricultural
land holding and inheritance practices, and gender gaps in
labor markets and job quality. In Bhutan, most women acquire
land ownership through inheritance, particularly in
matrilineal communities. Unlike in other countries, the
matrilineal inheritance practice offers economic
opportunities for Bhutanese women and contributes to their
relatively equal status with men. In addition, land holding
through inheritance can also affect economic choices,
particularly the decision to remain in one's village.
Bhutan has made tremendous progress in female labor force
participation, but the quality of jobs for women is still an
issue. Although women's participation in the labor
force has increased, it has not translated into improvements
in employment quality. The Labor Force Survey shows that
Bhutanese women work in lower quality jobs than men-women
who earn income from work outside the home; their earnings
are only 75 percent of men's earnings. The report
recommends policy interventions in five main areas: first,
it promotes equal ownership and agency over land. The policy
appears to be working well in most areas of the country, and
families are moving toward equal inheritance. Second,
women's economic endowment could be augmented to
increase labor productivity and earnings. Third, child care,
along with vocational and life-skills training tailored for
girls could women's access to good jobs. Fourth, social
norms that lead to gender inequality could be addressed by
promoting a greater role for men as fathers and caregivers
and men's participation in housework. Finally, the
report recognizes the need to conduct further research to
better understand the gender gap in happiness.

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World Bank Group

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