The 2012 World Development Report on Gender Equality and Development finds that women's lives around the world have improved dramatically, but gaps remain in many areas. The authors use a conceptual framework to examine progress to date, and then recommend policy actions.
One of the key messages of the report is that:
"Markets, institutions, and households can also combine to limit progress. Gender gaps in productivity and earnings, for example, are pervasive. And they are driven by deep-seated gender differences in time use (reflecting social norms about house and care work), in rights of ownership and control over land and assets, and in the workings of markets and formal institutions, which work in ways that disadvantage women."
The report confirms and complements FAO’s State of Food and Agriculture (2011), stressing that gender differences in access to asset – especially land, but also credit and inputs, are large, with female-headed households less likely to own and operate land than male-headed households and women operating smaller plots of land and farming less remunerative crops. Women's lack of tenure security also results in lower access to credit and inputs and lower yields.
Also see an interesting comment on the report from Duncan Green's blog "From Poverty to Power": http://www.oxfamblogs.org/fp2p/?p=6807