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  1. 1

    The state of the world's women 1985: World Conference to Review and Appraise the Achievements of the United Nations Decade for Women, Equality, Development and Peace, Nairobi, Kenya, July 15-26, 1985.

    New Internationalist Publications

    [Unpublished] 1985. 19 p.

    This report, based on results of a questionnaire completed by 121 national governments as well as independent research by UN agencies, assesses the status of the world's women at the end of the UN Decade for Women in the areas of the family, agriculture, industrialization, health, education, and politics. Women are estimated to perform 2/3 of the world's work, receive 1/10 of its income and own less than 1/100 of its property. The findings revealed that women do almost all the world's domestic work, which combined with their additional work outside the home means that most women work a double day. Women grow about 1/2 the world's food but own very little land, have difficulty obtaining credit, and are overlooked by agricultural advisors and projects. Women constitute 1/3 of the world's official labor force but are concentrated in the lowest paid occupations and are more vulnerable to unemployment than men. Although there are signs that the wage gap is closing slightly, women still earn less than 3/4 of the wage of men doing similar work. Women provide more health care than do health services, and have been major beneficiaries of the global shift in priorities to primary health care. The average number of children desired by the world's women has dropped from 6 to 4 in 1 generation. Although a school enrollment boom is closing the gap between the sexes, women illiterates outnumber men by 3 to 2. 90% of countries now have organizations promoting the advancement of women, but women are still greatly underrepresented in national decision making because of their poorer educations, lack of confidence, and greater workload. The results repeatedly point to the major underlying cause of women's inequality: their domestic role of wife and mother, which consumes about 1/2 of their time and energy, is unpaid, and is undervalued. The emerging picture of the importance and magnitude of the roles women play in society has been reflected in growing concern for women among governments and the community at large, and is responsible for the positive achievements of the decade in better health care and more employment and educational opportunities. Equality for women will require that they have equal rights, responsibilities, and opportunities in every area of life.
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  2. 2

    Optimal life-cycle profiles of fertility and labor supply

    Moffitt R

    Research in Population Economics. 1984; 5:29-50.

    A model of life cycle fertility is developed using the language and framework of optimal control theory. The chief characteristic of children that distinguishes them from other consumer durables is, in the language of the optimal growth theory, the "irreversibility of investment." As the good does not depreciate in the ordinary sense, the stock must be monotonically nondecreasing over time. The optimal profile of fertility is, for this reason, characterized by the same type of "bang-bang" behavior found in many optimal growth problems. Yet, the fertility decision is complicated considerably by several other factors. Chief among these is the intrinsic relation to the labor-supply decision, for having children implies inevitable constraints on the mother's or father's time. Thus, optimal labor-supply decisions also must be considered. The model is developed in stages, proceeding from very simple to the more complex models. 1 section introduces the impact of fertility on the future demands for home time. It is shown that optimal fertility profiles follow turnpike paths similar to those in the growth-theory literature. A subsequent section introduces labor-supply and human-captial considerations. As the models become more complex, solutions become harder to derive and are often only outlined. The analysis provides some theoretical basis for expecting certain shapes of the life-cycle profiles of fertility, labor supply, and wages. Fertility profiles may be of 2 shapes--one beginning at a high rate, falling to a lower rate, then to zero; and one beginning at zero, rising to a moderate rate, then falling back down to zero. Labor supply profiles can be of a number of different shapes, but the impact of childbearing is to lower hours worked during the early childrearing period. As the children mature, hours worked rise (or at least fall more slowly) as home time responsibilities lessen, although the level to which they rise will probably be lower than before the 1st birth. Log-wage profiles rise during the period before the 1st birth, then either fall or rise more slowly during the early years of childbearing, and then rise again as the children mature. These shapes have been inferred from a control-theory model that is quite complex and which could use considerably more delineation than has been achieved here. Closed-form solutions to the model have not been obtained, nor have any formal comparative dynamics been performed. As the model stands it is too complex to be empirically implemented. Such implementation would be desirable.
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