Does connectivity reduce gender gaps in off-farm employment?
Evidence from 12 low- and middle income countries
Gender gaps in labor force participation in developing countries persist despite income growth or structural change. We assess this persistence across economic geographies within countries, focusing on youth employment in off-farm wage jobs.
We combine household survey data from 12 developing countries with geospatial data on population density. The gender gap increases with connectivity from rural to peri-urban areas and disappears in high-density urban areas.
In non-rural areas, child dependency does not constrain young women, and secondary education improves their access to off-farm jobs. The gender gap persists for married young women independent of connectivity improvements, indicating social norm constraints.