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Megan O’Donnell is the assistant director of CGD’s gender program and a senior policy analyst. She works on issues related to women’s economic empowerment and financial inclusion, gender data and measurement, and development effectiveness. Prior to CGD, O’Donnell worked at the ONE Campaign, an international advocacy organization focused on sub Saharan Africa, where she led the development of ONE’s gender and inclusive growth-focused policy recommendations to donors and country governments. Before joining ONE, she coordinated CGD’s gender research program and has also worked with the Inter-American Development Bank, the International Center for Research on Women, CARE USA, Banyan Global, and the Middle East Institute. She has a master’s degree in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Oxford and a bachelor’s degree in Politics and French from the University of Virginia.
We analyzed participant data from 12 gender-related events and 12 randomly-selected (but similarly-sized) non-gender-related events hosted by CGD, and the evidence is very clear: men aren’t showing up for gender equality.
The benefits of the migration of women to women themselves, sending, and receiving countries are well-documented. But across the world, women face higher barriers to migration than do men: in accessing the education and work experience that can help qualify them for visas, or in finding the resources necessary to move. And in some countries, women need the permission of husbands or fathers to get a job, to travel, or to obtain a passport. This is a loss to those who want to migrate and a self-inflicted wound on the countries they come from. It is also a loss to destination countries, which are denied the drive and talent of the women who don’t arrive. Recipient countries can help rebalance this inequality with a triple-win policy that benefits migrants, sending countries and themselves alike.
Available evidence points to a superior payoff to female migration from gender-unequal countries to more gender-equal countries for the migrant, the sending country, and recipient country alike. This suggests that a policy by relatively gender-equal countries to provide entry preference to female economic migrants from gender-unequal countries would combine development impact and economic self-interest.
Recently CGD hosted the Second Annual Birdsall House Conference on Women, which focused on beyond-aid approaches for women’s economic empowerment, with particular emphasis on private sector engagement. CGD experts have written about how international organizations and national agencies should examine and correct gender biases in the design and delivery of their strategies for financial inclusion. But while public sector interventions are crucial for promoting women’s economic empowerment, the panelists pointed out that the private sector is in many ways better equipped to provide opportunities for women to grow their businesses, investments, and incomes. Here’s our takeaway.
CGD experts have penned memos on proposals to improve US development policy that we hope the next president will prioritize once in office. These are bipartisan ideas that could make a big difference for people in the developing world. The proposals come from our teams working on the US Development Policy Initiative, Global Health, and Gender.
Revisiting What Works updates the evidence first published in the 2013 Roadmap for Promoting Women’s Economic Empowerment and, as with the Roadmap, privileges short-term interventions that the private sector can sponsor and undertake. The Roadmap used rigorous evidence from 136 evaluations to identify proven, promising, high-potential and unproven interventions to increase women’s productivity and earnings in developing countries.
The US has a unique opportunity to lead in improving economic opportunities for women and girls by establishing a global vision and a corresponding fund with significant financial resources to spur change. The next US administration should allocate at least $1 billion in additional resources—equal to a little over two percent of current US overseas assistance—exclusively dedicated to advancing gender equality in developing countries, with a specific focus on improving women’s and girls’ economic opportunities and outcomes.
The Obama administration has taken some important steps to put women’s economic empowerment at the center of US foreign and development policy, but there’s still plenty of work left to do. Researchers and advocates alike have made the case for why gender equality—and specifically women’s economic empowerment—is critical for achieving economic growth, eradicating extreme poverty, and improving the health, education, and well-being of people worldwide. This blog post turns to concrete ways that the next US administration can promote women’s economic empowerment, thereby maximizing the impact of its development agenda.
To what extent have aid agencies delivered on their commitments to transparency? How do these agencies’ transparency efforts compare to one another? And beyond mere publication, what else needs to be done to make sure that available data is put to good use?
Five thousand researchers, practitioners, advocates and others are descending on Copenhagen for Women Deliver, the largest conference focused on the health, rights, and well-being of women and girls. Much of what will be discussed aligns with CGD’s own work through our global health policy and gender and development programs, so we’re pleased to be attending and below, we’re pleased to share with you a few of the conference areas where we can add our voice.
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.
Last week CGD hosted an event on advancing women’s political leadership, featuring Malawi’s first female president and Africa’s second, President Joyce Banda. President Banda discussed her own experiences as a woman in African politics and her current work to encourage other women to become political leaders, arguing forcefully for leveling the playing field