Economic Growth-Female Labour Force Participation Nexus: An Empirical Evidence for Pakistan

Nooreen Mujahid, Naeem Uz Zafar Naeem Uz Zafar


Economic literature shows significant attention towards the
role played by female labour force in the economic development of
nations. The structural changes of economies from agriculture to
industrial and services sector reduce the female labour force
participation in case of developing nations. The activities of female
labour force increases in the later stage of economic development due to
increase in education and dynamics of economic activity. As the size of
the economy expands females have easier and better access of jobs thus
are encouraged to become economically active, it leads to increase
female participation in the productive activities. The participation of
female labour force is desirable for both equity and efficiency reasons.
The equity aspect shows that the women’s participation in the labour
market ultimately improves their relative economic position, increase
the overall economic efficiency by enhancing the development potential
of the country. Moreover, the increasing integration of women in the
economy helps in reducing gender disparities in education, improving
maternal health, increasing sectoral share of female employment in
different sectors of the economy, demonstrating the hidden contribution
of women as unpaid family worker especially in agriculture sector.
According to the modernisation theorists, economic development is
positively associated with female labour force participation through
change in the occupational structure and increase in educational
opportunities along with the household responsibilities. The
modernisation process is linked with increased demand for labour, a
general social acceptance of women’s education and employment as well as
lower fertility [Heckman (1980); Standing (1981); Bauer and Shin
(1987)]. A body of theoretical and empirical literature provides
evidence that female labour force participation has a positive and
strong relationship with economic growth [Tansel (2002) and Fatima and
Sultana (2009)].

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