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Views from the Center

CGD experts offer ideas and analysis to improve international development policy. Also check out our Global Health blog and US Development Policy blog.

 

2013 World Bank Group / Fund Annual Meetings. 2013 Development Committee. Photo By: Eugene Salazar / World Bank

What CGD Experts are Watching at This Year’s World Bank/IMF Meetings in Bali

Why should countries invest in human capital? As emerging technologies impact economies and societies, how can we ensure that the most vulnerable are protected? Who will step up to finance the SDGs? Next week’s Annual Meetings of the World Bank and the IMF will convene 13,000 global policymakers, private sector executives, academics, and civil society members in Bali, Indonesia as they work to address these questions and more.

CGD-J-PAL event on measuring women's empowerment

We Can’t Measure Women’s Empowerment the Same Way Everywhere—But Should We Try?

Measuring empowerment is a perennial challenge for those of us evaluating programs targeting women. Last Wednesday’s launch of J-PAL’s new Practical Guide to Measuring Women’s and Girls’ Empowerment in Impact Evaluations at CGD was an exciting opportunity be inspired by impact evaluation powerhouse Rachel Glennerster, the former Executive Director of J-PAL and current Chief Economist at DFID, while simultaneously getting a bit discouraged about the quality of existing quantitative measures of empowerment. Here are a few takeaways for economists doing impact evaluations.

A seamstress in Accra, Ghana. Photo by Jonathan Torgovnik/Getty Images/imagesofempowerment.com

Empowering Women, Changing Mindsets: A Conversation on Technology and Financial Training

Eight years and millions of mobile financial transactions later, we came together again at a private CGD roundtable in London to discuss the potential of mobile banking and savings for women’s economic empowerment. We were pleased to hear the richness of research evidence and interventions on women’s financial inclusion that have emerged over the past decade. What follows are some takeaways from our deliberations, informed by this research and practice.

M-Pawa increased women’s happiness and optimism, business training had no additional significant effect (% of study participants answering ‘yes’)

The Clock is Ticking on Financial Inclusion and a Focus on Women Can Help

A sense of urgency was present at a recent World Bank Spring meeting on financial inclusion. This is not surprising, given the Bank’s ambitious goal of Universal Financial Access by 2020. Two years to go and globally about 1.7 billion adults remain unbanked—close to 1 billion of them are women. It’s clear that to meet this goal, we all must focus our efforts on women.

The Next Billion Customers: Is Technology the Key to Closing the Global Gap in Financial Services?

Over 1.7 billion adults worldwide remain unbanked, but two-thirds of them own a mobile phone that could easily connect them to the financial services they need. Governments could leverage digital payments to bring wages, pensions, and services directly to their beneficiaries. Private sector banks could provide digital accounts, loans, and savings devices to a new, previously unreached market. And these unbanked adults could have safe and secure methods to save, invest, and transfer money.

Chart of the Week: Gender Pay Gaps around the World Are Bigger Than You Think, and Have Almost Nothing to Do with Girls Schooling

While I think it's silly to argue we spend too much on girls' education, perhaps it's reasonable to ask whether a concern with gender equality and a cold hard look at recent data would lead anyone to put their marginal dollar into girls' schooling over, say, campaigning for gender quotas (which seem to work well in Indian politics, at least) or even subsidized childcare (which has boosted female labor force participation in Latin America).

Percentage of respondents who agreed that one or more reasons justify wife-beating by husband.

Globalism and “Wife-Beating”

Globalization of the economic sort is often maligned. But then there is globalism: of norms, values, culture, and attitudes. Are norms and values, even “culture”, being globalized? Is the idea, for example, that women have equal rights, as in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), gaining ground as a universal norm? And might changing norms and values affect legal regimes and behavior (sometimes, maybe)?

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