Gender disparities in rights, access to resources and economic opportunity, and voice and political participation vary across and within countries, but remain pervasive worldwide. On the one hand, more rapid development can help attenuate gender disparities. In the other direction, reducing gender inequality can help improve development outcomes. There is increasing awareness of the costs that gender disparities impose on individuals and societies, and of the resulting implications of these inequities for development prospects.
However, there are still large knowledge gaps in how and why gender equity matters for development and in the understanding of how best to take account of and address gender differences in policy design. Gender equity is the focus of the World Bank’s World Development Report 2012.