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Mayra Buvinic, an internationally recognized expert on gender and development and social development, is a Senior Fellow both at the Center for Global Development and the United Nations Foundation. Previously, she was Director for Gender and Development at the World Bank. She also worked at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) where she headed the Social Development Division and was founding member and President of the International Center for Research on Women. She has a PhD in Social Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
A review of the recent evaluation evidence on financial services and training interventions questions their gender neutrality and suggests that some design features in these interventions can yield more positive economic outcomes for women than for men. These include features in savings and ‘Graduation’ programs that increase women’s economic self-reliance and self-control, and the practice of repeated micro borrowing that increases financial risk-taking and choice. Subjective economic empowerment appears to be an important intermediate outcome for women that should be promoted and more reliably and accurately measured. Lastly, whenever possible, results should be sex-disaggregated and reported for individuals as well as households.
Women’s economic empowerment is critical for achieving women’s rights and gender equality, poverty reduction, and economic growth. Yet urban spaces pose significant barriers to progress, including limited mobility, safety risks, and lack of information and networks to access better economic opportunities. Increasingly, technology-based solutions are being developed to overcome these challenges, which can have particularly significant benefits in the Global South.
Kellyanne Conway called him a “man of action” after a whirlwind first week in which President Trump signed 14 Executive Orders and presidential memoranda, covering most of his key campaign issue areas from health to immigration to trade. In a series of blogs, CGD experts have been examining how some of these specific policy intentions could impact development progress. As you would expect from a group of economists, we believe in—and encourage—evidence-based policymaking, and here we look at what the existing evidence and research tell us about how likely these Executive Orders are to achieve the president’s stated goals.
The scale of the turnout at the Women’s Marches across the world recently, along with President Trump’s early reinstatement of a ban on US funding for organizations that offer family planning services in foreign countries, seem to suggest an administration already at odds with an entire gender. On this week’s podcast, three CGD senior fellows weigh in on the evidence that engaging and empowering women—both at home and overseas—makes good sense, especially in an America-First strategy.
This post takes a deeper dive into women’s specific situations, and in particular their socioeconomic levels, as an important factor for consideration when seeking to both improve and measure economic outcomes.
The Birdsall House Conference Series on Women seeks to identify and bring attention to leading research and scholarly findings on women’s empowerment in the fields of development economics, behavioral economics, and political economy.
How can development practitioners best contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)? What approaches are most effective in promoting gender equality and social inclusion? The adoption of the SDGs is an opportune time to discuss lessons learned and promising pathways forward. The event will discuss SDG 5 (focused on gender equality) and how gender equality objectives impact the achievement of other critical SDGs.
The terminology describing economic programs for women has changed—actions to “empower women economically” have replaced efforts to “increase women’s economic participation and income.” This shift in language makes sense intuitively and has solid conceptual backing (in the work of Amartya Sen, for example) but, is there a difference between economic advancement and empowerment? And have measures changed in tandem with this change in terminology?
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.