Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

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.

 

needle on measuring device

Do Indices Move the Needle on Gender Equality?

The broad scope of the Sustainable Development Goals acknowledges that human development is multifaceted and that gender equality is crosscutting.

In the drive to measure these concepts and gauge progress, there has been a proliferation of indices in recent years. The allure of indices is twofold: they reduce complex concepts and multiple indicators into one number, and this number can be used to rank countries and, so the theory goes, drive change. In one fell swoop then, indices seem to bring simplicity, order, and transformative potential.

smiling woman at sewing machine

Helping Poor Women Grow Their Businesses with Mobile Savings, Training, and Something More?

Growing a business is not easy, and for women firm owners the challenges can be acute, especially when they are poor and run subsistence level firms. In developing countries, 22 percent of women discontinue their established businesses due to a lack of funds, and women are more likely than men to report exiting their businesses over finance problems, according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor. Meanwhile, personal savings are a crucial source of entrepreneurial financing, and nearly 95 percent of entrepreneurs globally state that they used their own funds to start or scale up their businesses. Women, however, face unique constraints in accumulating savings to invest in growing their firms.

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.

Progress on Global Development Commitments, or More of the Same? CGD Experts Share Hopes and Predictions for 2017 G20 Summit

Each of the G20 summits of the past seven years has suffered in comparison with the London and Pittsburgh Summits of 2009, when the imperative of crisis response motivated leaders, finance ministers, and central bankers to coordinate effectively with each other. Subsequent summits have lacked the same sense of urgency and have failed to deliver any kind of agenda that can be pinpointed as clearly as “saving the global economy.” This week’s summit in Hamburg, Germany promises more of the same, with the real possibility that the G20’s stock could fall even further at the hands of a non-cooperative US delegation.

Economic Advancement or Economic Empowerment: What to Measure and Why?

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?

Jobs for Women: New Frontiers for Research and Action

The pace towards gender equality has been far too slow. Despite major progress on narrowing gender gaps in educational attainment, global progress has stagnated in a most important area for gender equality: women’s participation in the world of paid work. Gender gaps in economic participation are widespread and persistent, averaging around 27 percent globally in 2015, only about 1.5 percent lower than in 1990.

How Will President Trump’s Executive Orders Affect Development? CGD Experts Consider the Evidence

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.