The position of women globally has been significantly improved in previous decades, but women still face many challenges ahead, although their problems and opportunities differ from region to region, country to country, city to city and family to family. There are many programs that tackle disadvantages that women face especially in their economic life, but the importance of economic freedom as an instrument for empowering women is often overlooked.
What about economic freedom?
Economic freedom is measured throguh two inetnational indices: the Economic Freedom of the World by the Fraser Institute and the Index of Economic Freedom by the Heritage Foundation. Although economic freedom seems to be an abstract economic concept, it just means freedom to make one’s own choices. When people can pursue their own interests, more often than not, this leads to a more prosperous and thriving society.
Economic Freedom: A Woman’s Best Friend
Economic freedom enables women to overcome different cultural norms and institutional hurdles they often face. Women in countries that are more economically free live longer, healthier lives, are better educated, are more involved in the economy and are financially independent compared to their counterparts from less economically free countries. These differences can indeed be huge: a woman born in a more economically free country is expected to live on average 17 years longer and the number of women that participate in labour market is two times higher.
Should I stay or should I go
There are no simple solutions for complex social problems. But economic freedom has many positive consequences, one of which is the improvement in the wellbeing of women. So, if we want to improve conditions of women and increase their opportunities, the first thing to do is to increase the level of economic freedom. This does not mean that some other policy solutions would not also be useful, but in the end, women are not less capable of making their own fortunes. We should just help them tear down obstacles in their way.