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Unleashing Women's Productive Potential to Drive Growth: Institutional Reforms, Economic Empowerment, and Women's Informal Enterprises
June 12, 2014Washington, D.C.

Join a lunchtime discussion with the Gender & Development and Investment Climate teams of the World Bank Group.


Although women account for more than half the world's population, their contribution to overall economic growth lags behind that of men in most countries. Occupational job segregation and sexual division of labor remain pervasive, and women perform the vast majority of unpaid care work. This session will review the constraints women face in fulfilling their potential and enhancing their contribution to aggregate output and economic growth. It will address how women in developing countries engage in the informal economy despite constraints and highlight promising interventions to mitigate legal constraints in Cote D'Ivoire and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Closing productivity gaps is vital not only to empowering women but also to tackling poverty and boosting shared prosperity, the World Bank Group's twin corporate goals.


Kalpana Kochhar
Deputy Director in the IMF Strategy, Policy, & Review Department

Marty Chen 
Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School and International Coordinator, WIEGO Network

Sarah Iqbal 
Program Coordinator, Women, Business and the Law, World Bank Group


Jeni Klugman
Director, World Bank Group Gender & Development

  • Kalpana Kochhar

    Deputy Director in the IMF Strategy, Policy, & Review Department
    Kalpana Kochhar is currently a Deputy Director in the Strategy, Policy and Review Department of the IMF. Between 2010 and 2012, she was the Chief Economist for the South Asia Region of the World Bank. Prior to joining the World Bank, she held the position of Deputy Director in the Asia and Pacific Department since August 2008 leading the IMF’s work on Japan, India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Bhutan, Nepal. She has also worked on China, Korea and the Philippines. Prior to taking this position, she spent time in the IMF’s Research Department, the Strategy and Policy Review Department and in the Fiscal Affairs department. Ms. Kochhar’s research interests and publications have mainly focused on studies of Asian economies, including a major report on jobs in South Asia. She holds a Ph.D. and an M.A. in Economics from Brown University and an M.A. in Economics from Delhi School of Economics in India. She has a B.A in Economics from Madras University in India.
  • Marty Chen

    Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School and International Coordinator, WIEGO Network
    Martha Chen is a Lecturer in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, an Affiliated Professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and International Coordinator of the global research-policy-action network Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO). An experienced development practitioner and scholar, her areas of specialization are employment, gender, and poverty with a focus on the working poor in the informal economy. Before joining Harvard in 1987, she had two decades of resident experience in Bangladesh working with BRAC (now the world's largest non-governmental organization) and in India, where she served as field representative of Oxfam America for India and Bangladesh. Marty received a PhD in South Asia Regional Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author and editor of numerous books including Bridging Perspectives: Labour, Informal Employment, and Poverty (co-edited with Namrata Bali and Ravi Kanbur), The Progress of the World’s Women 2005: Women, Work and Poverty (co-authored with Joann Vanek, Francie Lund, James Heintz, Renana Jhabvala and Chris Bonner), Mainstreaming Informal Employment and Gender in Poverty Reduction (co-authored with Marilyn Carr and Joann Vanek), Women and Men in the Informal Economy: A Statistical Picture (co-authored with Joann Vanek and others) and Perpetual Mourning: Widowhood in Rural India. Dr. Chen was awarded a high civilian award, the Padma Shri, by the Government of India in April 2011; and a Friends of Bangladesh Liberation War award by the Government of Bangladesh in December 2012.
  • Sarah Iqbal

    Program Coordinator, Women, Business and the Law, World Bank Group
    Sarah Iqbal joined the World Bank Group in 2008, where she worked with the Doing Business Project before moving to the Women, Business and the Law project. The Women, Business and the Law report and dataset examines how the legal and regulatory environment affects women's ability to get jobs and start businesses. Ms. Iqbal also provides guidance on the interaction of the law and women’s economic activities in areas such as financial inclusion. She is a member of the California Bar, and prior to joining the World Bank Group she practiced civil litigation and criminal defense law. Her primary interests lie in the realm of law and development and comparative law. Ms. Iqbal holds a BA in English and History from the University of California, Berkeley, an MA in International Relations and International Economics from Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and a JD concentrating in International Law from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. She speaks Hindi and Urdu.
  • When: 12:45-2:00 p.m. ET
  • Where: MC4-800, World Bank Headquarters
  • CONTACT: Maureen Itepu
  • mitepu@worldbank.org