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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.

 
A Latin American mother with her daughter.

The Art of Indirect Measures: Asking about Violence Against Women and Children in Remote Surveys

Early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers grappled with an ethical and methodological dilemma: should they integrate measures of violence against women and children into remote data collection efforts—and if so, what logistical protocols were required to safeguard participants against harm? Despite decades of good practice guidelines, institutional ethical boards are often ill-equipped to advise or make determinations on violence data collection, and this is especially true for less traditional remote surveys. Thus, researchers may end up making decisions on what to ask—and what ethical protocol to put in place—based on their experience, knowledge of the study population (setting), and their comfort level with including sensitive questions.

An image of a mother wearing a mask while walking with her children.

Addressing Violence against Women and Children during COVID-19: It’s Time to Advance, Not Retreat

On March 20, President Tayyip Erdogan announced Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention, aimed at preventing and combatting violence against women and domestic violence. The first binding treaty on the topic, the Istanbul Convention seeks to promote governments’ accountability in preventing violence and ending legal impunity for perpetrators. Turkey’s announcement was met with immediate criticism; Turkish citizens took to the streets in protest, and world leaders, including US President Joseph Biden, issued public statements opposing the decision.

An image of a group of women working around a conference table.

Women’s Economic Empowerment as a US Development Priority: Still A Lot of Room for Improvement

While the previous US administration sought to elevate some elements of women’s economic empowerment within development policy, a recent report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) suggests there is considerable room for improvement, specifically in USAID’s support to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). The Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment (WEEE) Act, signed into law in early 2019, mandates that half of USAID’s investments in MSMEs target women-owned, managed, or controlled business and the very poor. But the GAO uncovered several issues that undermine USAID’s ability to determine how it has fared relative to this ambition.

An image of an African woman making a financial transaction on her phone.

Governments Looking to Increase Women’s Economic Empowerment Might Want to Look in the Mirror

Government leaders worldwide are trumpeting the need for greater equality in the workplace. That’s the correct thing to do on the grounds of both rights and efficiency, but those leaders might want to start by looking within their own organizations. Today we publish a new policy paper that studies the choices governments have made in their own hiring and compensation decisions.

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Off to a Good Start: How the Biden-Harris Administration Can Strengthen DFC’s 2X Initiative

In March, the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) held its first board meeting of the Biden-Harris administration. At that meeting board members voted to approve just one project—a $300 million loan to expand a Brazilian bank’s lending portfolio to small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The loan is notably focused on increasing lending to women borrowers, as well as those in underdeveloped regions of the country, making the new administration’s first board-approved DFC investment a 2X Initiative project—a promising starting point.

An image of two girls with masks on going over their schoolwork.

From Mexico City to Paris: Generation Equality Needs Evidence-Based Commitments

Women’s History Month came to a close last week with the first virtual convening of the Generation Equality Forum in Mexico City. Originally scheduled for 2020, the Forum commemorates the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, while bringing urgent attention to global leaders falling short of their stated objectives to achieve gender equality. Over the course of the three-day session, Forum participants heard from leaders of six Action Coalitions, each of which presented a blueprint of actions that coalition members will take to achieve their stated goals by 2026. Here we examine these newly announced goals, assess their scope and scale of ambition, and propose some next steps.

An image of a mother holding her young daughter.

It's Time to Invest in Global Childcare

"Through increased policy attention and financial investment, childcare can move from a problem to an opportunity. It is an opportunity to promote gender equality and education, support families, & build communities and new economies. The time for bold action is now."

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