The World Development Report 2012: Gender Equality and Development argues that closing the gaps is a core development objective in its own right. It is also smart economics. Greater gender equality can enhance productivity, improve development outcomes for the next generation, and make institutions more representative.
Women’s lives have improved greatly over the past decades. Enjoying ever higher education, women have greater control over their life choices. They use those choices to participate more in the labor force; have fewer children; diversify their time beyond housework and child care; and shape their communities, economies, and societies. And the pace of change for many women in the developing world has accelerated.
Read more in the World Bank report
Follow some of the women who are showing a strong leadership: