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Although Haiti's 2010 earthquake brought to light the inconceivable poverty existing in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti's struggle for economic development long pre-dated that earthquake. One problem in Haiti is the high level of gender inequity, and we argue that human development theory is the best mode for change. We provide a brief background of Haiti's economic development over the last several decades, along with the status of women's rights and gender-differentiated socioeconomic outcomes. We analyze the ways that policy neglect of gender equity in Haiti has contributed to failed economic development in the past. Finally, we identify ways that other developing countries have successfully incorporated a focus on gender equity in their development strategy, particularly in the face of natural disaster and financial crisis. Our goal is working toward a set of leading practices consistent with institutionalism that can be used in relating gender (in)equality to economic development.

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Journal of Economic Issues