Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity



An image of the policy paper.
October 13, 2021

Strengthening the Global Care Economy: A Roadmap for the Biden-Harris Administration

In calling for large-scale investment in the United States’ care economy, the Biden-Harris administration has taken an unprecedented step in recognizing and addressing the constraints that American families, and particularly women, face in juggling paid and unpaid work within their own country. The administration now has an opportunity to translate its positioning of care as essential infrastructure within the US context into a complementary foreign and international development policy agenda.

June 22, 2021

The Unfolding of Women’s Economic Empowerment Outcomes: Time Path of Impacts in an Indonesia Trial

This paper makes the case that some interventions designed to improve women’s economic lives need to be tracked long enough for women to manifest new and beneficial behaviors. The study analyzes the time paths of the estimated impacts in a randomized trial providing financial incentives to bank agents (on the supply-side) and basic business training to women business owners (on the demand-side) for them to access and use formal financial services.

The cover of the brief
April 7, 2021

Brief: The Gendered Dimensions of Social Protection in the COVID-19 Context

In this policy brief, we summarize the findings of a CGD working paper, The Gendered Dimensions of Social Protection in the COVID-19 Context. We explore the role of social protection, with an emphasis on social assistance policies and programs, in addressing increasing poverty, food insecurity, unpaid care work, and gender-based violence—all exacerbated by the onset of the crisis and associated containment measures. We document these trends and how they disproportionately impact women and girls, as well as the extent to which governments and donors are integrating a gender lens into their social protection efforts and make recommendations to ensure that future efforts effectively reach and benefit women and girls.

The cover of the brief
April 7, 2021

Brief: Promoting Women’s Economic Empowerment in the COVID-19 Context

In this policy brief, we summarize the findings of a CGD working paper, Promoting Women’s Economic Empowerment in the COVID-19 Context. We explore the impacts of the crisis on women’s economic opportunities and outcomes, document the extent to which governments and donors are taking action to respond to these impacts, and make recommendations for how decision-makers can elevate women’s economic empowerment as a priority in response and recovery efforts.

The cover of the working paper
April 7, 2021

The Impacts of Health Crises on Women & Girls: How Historical Evidence Can Inform Assessment and Recovery through a Gender Lens

This paper presents a conceptual framework on the effects of health crises on women and girls with an eye toward understanding the growing evidence base for the COVID-19 pandemic. When health crises like COVID-19 emerge, the simultaneous shocks to economic, social, and health systems can have different implications for women and girls.

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December 2, 2020

Measuring Women’s Economic Empowerment: A Compendium of Selected Tools

A main objective of the compendium is practical: helping readers locate and choose different tools (and indicators) for different purposes. This includes providing a better understanding of the factors that affect country rankings produced by different tools and selecting among tools and indicators for monitoring a particular project. It also identifies gaps in WEE measurement that need to be filled and aims to promote harmonization among WEE stakeholders through a shared understanding of existing tools and what they measure.

October 21, 2020

Women’s Economic Empowerment in West Africa: Towards a Practical Research Agenda

Evidence on ‘what works’ to promote women’s economic empowerment has expanded in recent years but remains geographically unbalanced, with English speaking countries and those with more longstanding research traditions better represented. Recognizing the importance of context specificity in understanding and advancing gender equality, we seek to fill a gap in the literature by reviewing interventions, policies, and broader socio-economic trends within West Africa and the extent to which they have contributed to progress in narrowing economic gender gaps in the region.

The cover of the working paper
April 10, 2020

Can Boosting Savings and Skills Support Female Business Owners in Indonesia? Evidence from A Randomized Controlled Trial

This study tests the relative effectiveness and cost effectiveness of providing supply-side incentives to promote agent banking savings accounts, business and financial literacy training for female entrepreneurs, and the combination of the two on women’s businesses and agency in Indonesia.

Cover: Unequal Ventures
April 30, 2018

Unequal Ventures: Results from a Baseline Study of Gender and Entrepreneurship in East Java, Indonesia

A study of women and men business owners in East Java offers a unique opportunity to analyze characteristics of entrepreneurs and their businesses by gender for a country where such systematic data are scarce. The study is one of two randomized controlled trials launched in 2015 to assess the power of mobile savings and training for women entrepreneurs. This report details baseline results from the Indonesia trial, still under way, which is testing whether providing financial literacy training for women who are potential bank clients and varying financial incentives to bank agents promoting a new mobile savings product make a difference in increasing  entrepreneurs’ uptake of formal savings and in improving economic outcomes. Short-term results of the other trial, in Tanzania, were reported in the first report in this series.

Cover of "Mindful Saving: Exploring the Power of Savings for Women"
March 22, 2018

Mindful Saving: Exploring the Power of Savings for Women

Mobile savings hold great promise, because they can considerably reduce transaction costs that can be unduly heavy for women. Two questions guide us: how can we encourage more women microentrepreneurs to access formal savings accounts, and is mobile saving a particularly fitting solution? This series uses empirical evidence to address these issues.

Gitanjali sister standing at a dump site
October 23, 2017

SEWA Gitanjali Cooperative: A Social Enterprise in the Making

In 1995, India’s Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) organized women waste pickers in Ahmedabad into a cooperative to improve their working conditions and livelihoods. Over time, this informal arrangement evolved into Gitanjali—a women-owned and -run social enterprise. With support from key partners, Gitanjali has generated social value, providing its members with safe and dignified work while increasing their earnings. While Gitanjali faces challenges in becoming a fully self-sufficient social enterprise, its experience offers insights for other initiatives seeking to provide opportunities for women to transition from informal to formal work.