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Since women account for almost 50 percent of the world's population, the sustainability of development of the global economy can be greatly impaired if the state authorities in individual countries pay less attention to the improvement in the socio-economic status of women relative to men. Improvement in socio-economic status which facilitates empowerment of individuals is greatly dependent on conducive informal institutions and state institutions. This book is the first of its kind to critically examine the role of these institutions in women's empowerment in five continents in the world. The analysis of the role of institutions in individual countries is underpinned by a robust theoretical background presented in the first three chapters. The chapters on individual countries also include a section dealing with recommendations for changes in state policies affecting women's empowerment.