The UNDP’s programming on poverty reduction and inclusive growth focuses on the provision of policy advice and technical support to the Government of Lao PDR to strengthen national capacities on planning, financing and through implementation of pro-poor/green growth policies.
In 2022, the Country Office (CO) launched Lao PDR’s Sixth National Human Development Report (NHDR). The report highlighted income disparities between women and men. In 2021, GNI per capita (2017 PPP) for females was $6,757 while for men it was $8,627. The labour force participation rate is close to parity, with the level of female participation at 74.8 percent and male participation at 78.1 percent. Yet, women earn substantially less than men, since they cluster primarily in low-income, informal work. One reason that women are disadvantaged in accessing formal employment and decent wages is that many do not complete secondary or tertiary education. A large portion of women and girls miss out on secondary education for multiple reasons, including early marriage, long distances to school, and social norms and expectations for girls to stay at home to help their mothers (United Nations, 2021). High dropout rates result in early marriage, Lao PDR has the highest adolescent birth rates in the region. All these factors disadvantage women from accessing the formal labour market and high-value incomes.
These disadvantages are further reinforced by prevailing gender norms as highlighted in the NHDR. First, women and girls face mobility constraints related to unsafe public transport, social stigma and a lack of ownership/control of vehicles. This limits their education and employment opportunities and options to access markets and grow their enterprises. Second, gender stereotypes lead employers to assume that women will get pregnant and impose extra costs or are less reliable employees. Finally, a lack of women in leadership roles limits undercuts their ability to act as role models, drive collective action and lead marshal change in their communities and societies.
Despite the constraints girls and women face the NHDR highlighted that attitudes might be changing. There is increasing acceptance of women in education, business and village leadership positions, along with broader shifts in perceptions and attitudes around the role of women in the economy and society. While adolescent girls and women are still expected to lead household work, acceptance of greater mobility and the pursuit of economic opportunities outside the village has increased even in poor and remote areas. Adolescent boys indicate that they are aware that opportunities for women are still not equal but insist the situation is improving and express acceptance of change. These trends can pave the way for bigger changes propelling women’s greater labour force participation and entrepreneurship, including in traditionally male-dominated sectors.
Building on these findings and given that economic diversification is critical to stimulate growth and recovery from the impacts of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and the conflict in Ukraine, UNDP aims to produce an analytical research paper that addresses two key research questions. The first research question centers on women’s contribution to economic growth and the opportunities for a gender dividend. The second research question looks at the potential role women can play in stimulating economic diversification and innovation base of the economy. The purpose of this research paper is to provide the evidence base for dialogue and advocacy and to make the case that investing in women and girls is necessary for Lao PDR to achieve its growth and diversification ambitions.
UNDP is seeking the services of an International Consultant /Research Specialist – Gender and Economic Development to produce a high-quality analytical research paper.
Duties and Responsibilities
The aim of the consultancy is to successfully deliver an analytical/research paper that is of publishable quality. The research paper will cover two parts (i) analyze the contribution of women in economic growth and the opportunities for a gender dividend (ii) the potential role women can play in stimulating economic diversification and innovation base of the economy.
The first part will produce data and analytics on the following:
- Analysis of the 'First' demographic transition, changing age structure and window of opportunity for a demographic dividend and possible changes and trajectories in the future.
- Analysis of female labor force participation (FLFP): trends and changes during the past decade across sectors, regions, income levels
- The role of female economic participation in GDP growth: effective number of producers, age profiles of production and productivity of females in employment by education levels
- Share of gender dividend
- Policy analysis and recommendations to increase female labour force participation and the gender dividend
The second part of the research paper will look at the potential role women can play in achieving economic diversification and innovation:
- Identification of economic diversification pathways and potential growth sectors (aligned with UNDP supported diversification paper and future of work paper).
- Analysis of female labour force participation and entrepreneurship trends and the potential transition within and across growth sectors
- Policy analysis and solutions to leverage women’s economic participation to achieve economic diversification and high quality growth
SCOPE OF WORK
The consultant is expected to enhance UNDP’s thought leadership on leveraging women’s economic participation to achieve economic diversification and demographic dividend in Lao PDR. Working closely with guidance from the head of Poverty Reduction Unit and Country Economist at UNDP Lao PDR, the consultant will be responsible for the following activities:
- Provide the research /analytical framework for Part I and II of the research paper and present the framework to UNDP.
- Develop quantitative analysis for Part I and II using existing statistical datasets including data from the Labour Force Survey and the Household Income and Expenditure Survey (HIES) data.
- Conduct online consultations with national stakeholders.
- Draft the narrative and consolidate Part I and II into a research/analytical that is of publishable quality.
- Working knowledge of MS office.
- Familiar with cloud document editing
Required Skills and Experience
- Master’s degree or higher (PhD an advantage) in economics, labour economics or related field
- Minimum 10 years of relevant experience on research and analysis on economic growth policies including gender and economic empowerment, demographic dividend analysis.
- Strong quantitative and qualitative analytical and research skills
- Demonstrate a minimum of 4 distinguished track records of scholarly publications on gender and economic development.
- Experience working with the UN system or other international organizations is an asset.
- Familiarity with Least Developed Country and or South-East Asia context.
Please find the TOR details here RPS_070_2023
Please apply through this link Procurement | United Nations Development Programme (undp.org)