A macro-level exploration of the links between fertility decline and gender equality

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Susan Lee-Rife, ICRW; Sophie Namy, ICRW; Anju Malhotra, ICRW

This paper maps time-series macro-level data on fertility, labor force participation (LFP) and secondary education trends from 30 countries using data from multiple sources (e.g., United Nations and International Labour Organization). The analysis focuses on the timing of fertility decline as compared to changes in LFP and education rates. Trends are disaggregated by sex, as relative gains to women are suggestive of changes due to shifts in gender equality.

This research is part of a series of empirical studies from the Fertility and Empowerment Network, which examines whether and to what extent increasingly smaller family sizes in lower and middle income countries have empowered women or resulted in fundamental transformations in inequitable gender systems.