LONDON – According to the United Nations, 70% of women worldwide experience violence in their lifetime. The World Bank adds that women aged 15-44 are more likely to experience rape or domestic violence than cancer, car accidents, war, or malaria. Such indicators are even more alarming in emerging markets, where discrimination and gender inequality are particularly prevalent.
This partly reflects the failure of public policy to ameliorate the distributive consequences of rapid economic growth. With the informal sector continuing to play a major role in emerging economies, women often have access to only unreliable and transitory employment that offers casual and irregular wages. Meanwhile, unprecedented urbanization has disrupted traditional family structures, further undermining the role that women can play in economies and societies.