fbpx Understanding Female Labor Force Participation in Afghanistan, Government of Afghanistan | Harvard Kennedy School


Afghanistan’s female labor force participation (FLFP) rate is roughly 16% - one of the lowest in the world. This has serious implications for the country – for socioeconomic inclusivity, poverty reduction, and for overall growth and productivity. While low FLFP is a problem in itself, it also implies that there are other underlying factors that prevent women from working such as limited mobility, security, low bargaining power, etc.  In this paper, we find that security and cultural norms are the underlying barriers that prevent women from entering the labor force. We also identify the importance of information and how women receive information.  Given the increase in television viewership over time, we recommend the Government to use television programs to provide exposure to the outside world and address a key underlying barrier, norms.