Welcome Mayra Buvinic, and a New Focus on the Economics of Improving Women’s Lives

October 06, 2015

I’m pleased to announce that we are launching a new research program focused on the economics of improving women’s lives and well-being.

Our aim is to bring the best economics research to identify specific actions that can advance gender equality, from fostering women’s involvement in business and entrepreneurship to making use of international policy levers and foreign donor investments.

And I’m particularly pleased to welcome Mayra Buvinic as a new Senior Fellow with decades of experience in the fields of gender equality and women’s empowerment. Mayra was a founding member of the International Center for Research on Women and served as the organization’s president for 18 years. She then went on to lead units focused on women and gender at both the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank, where her work included managing initiatives on violence prevention and on increasing economic opportunities for adolescent girls. Currently Mayra is a Senior Fellow at the United Nations Foundation; she will maintain this position in addition to her new position as a Senior Fellow at CGD.

Mayra’s focus on gender and development will add to work already produced in this area by Charles Kenny, including his recent policy recommendations to advance a gender-based development agenda. Also conducting research as part of the Gender and Development Program are myself, vice president for programs and director of global health policy Amanda Glassman, research fellow Matt Collin, research fellow Justin Sandefur, and senior policy analysts Theodore Talbot and Rachel Silverman.

CGD has a history of working on research questions related to gender equality and advancing outcomes for women and girls. Through the Girls Count: A Global Investment and Action Agenda initiative, CGD described why and how to provide adolescent girls in developing countries with a full and equal chance in life and proposed targeted recommendations to national and local governments, donor agencies, civil society, and the private sector. CGD also delved into topics including pricing instruments that can incentivize land ownership for women, adolescent fertility in low- and middle-income countries, the impact of conditional cash transfers on maternal health, and concrete ways global HIV/AIDs donors can do more for women and girls. Most recently, CGD has hosted events on measuring and evaluating women’s economic empowerment and the impact of laws on outcomes for women and girls.

Advancing gender equality drives tremendous gains in health, education, employment, and improved livelihoods – both for women and girls themselves and for their broader families and communities. However, in many parts of the world, women and girls still face social norms as well as legal, economic, and political constraints that prevent them from participating fully and equally in society. Through our new work, CGD will contribute to an understanding of what works best in breaking down the barriers to women’s and girls’ security and equal participation in the economy, politics, and society at large.

We seek to complement the in-depth research that has been and continues to be conducted within the field of gender and development. And in particular, we hope that the conference series will serve as a platform for collaboration among researchers, policymakers, and others dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls.


CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors, drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD is a nonpartisan, independent organization and does not take institutional positions.