The lives of girls and women have changed dramatically over the past quarter century. The pace of change has been astonishing in some areas, but in others, progress toward gender equality has been limited—even in developed countries.
The 2012 World Development Report: Gender Equality and Development argues that gender equality is a core development objective in its own right. It is also smart economics. Greater gender equality can enhance productivity, improve development outcomes for the next generation, and make institutions more representative.
The Report also focuses on four priority areas for policy going forward: (i) reducing excess female mortality and closing education gaps where they remain, (ii) improving access to economic opportunities for women (iii) increasing women's voice and agency in the household and in society and (iv) limiting the reproduction of gender inequality across generations.