Ageing and development: Putting gender back on the agenda

Bennett, Rachel and Zaidi, Asghar (2016) Ageing and development: Putting gender back on the agenda. International Journal on Ageing in Developing Countries, 1 (1). pp. 5-19.

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Abstract

We live in a world where women over fifty account for almost one quarter of the total population. This article highlights the potential of global population ageing as a vehicle for socio-economic development and demonstrates the value of taking a gendered approach to ageing and development. With the use of country level data on gender equality, education, health and life expectancy in later life, the analysis shows that older women in low-income countries face disproportionate disadvantages relative to both their male counterparts in low-income countries and female counterparts in high-income countries. For instance, an older woman in a low-income country is over 24 times less likely to have completed secondary education than an older woman in a high-income country. Despite the widely documented female survival advantage, an older woman in a low-income country spend a smaller percentage of her remaining life expectancy at age sixty in good health than her male counterparts. Our analysis show there are strong correlations between gender inequality and diminished life expectancy and healthy life expectancy at age 60 amongst both genders, indicating that both older women and older men fare better when they live in societies which realise the contributions of women to the development process. The correlation is particularly strong in low-income countries,suggesting countries with the lowest levels of economic development have the most to gain from promoting gender equality. The United Nations Millennium Development Goals (2000-2015) had given an exclusive place to women in the standalone goal on maternal mortality and a goal on gender equality and female empowerment with explicit indicators on school enrollment amongst girls and literacy amongst young women. These goals are linked to the achievements such as the near doubling of the number of women in parliament and a near halving of the maternal mortality ratio over the last twenty years. However the development discourse has given minimal attention to women beyond reproductive age. The new, broader post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals provide unparalleled opportunities to place gender back on the emerging ageing and development agenda, support both older men and women to realise their potential and in the process maximize opportunities for prosperity and wellbeing for all.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Ageing, gender, equality, development, Sustainable Development Goals
Related URLs:
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Natural & Social Sciences > Environmental Sciences
Research Priority Areas: Environmental Dynamics & Governance
Depositing User: Rachel Bennett
Date Deposited: 26 Jul 2016 13:32
Last Modified: 04 Aug 2017 15:43
URI: http://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/3796

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