In This Review

The Double X Economy: The Epic Potential of Women’s Empowerment
The Double X Economy: The Epic Potential of Women’s Empowerment
By Linda Scott
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2020, 384 pp

Scott has crafted an impassioned account of the personal and societal costs of denying economic opportunity to women. The book is part synthesis of scholarship and part polemic—not a bad thing when one is addressing a wide audience. Her analysis is informed by fieldwork in Ghana, South Africa, and Uganda and also by reams of data from international institutions and nongovernmental organizations. Scott documents the costs, in terms of equity but also in terms of economic development and growth, of gender gaps in education, pay, and access to finance, shedding light on the societal origins of these disparities. She shows how simple interventions in developing countries—providing sanitary pads to encourage school attendance by young women, for instance—can make a difference. As for why such interventions are not more extensive, Scott points to patriarchal societies that deny women a seat at the decision-making table. She applies the same critique to advanced countries and to the economics profession itself, which she indicts for its limited attention to issues of gender inequality.