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.
COVID-19 has raised the profile of violence against women and children (VAW/C) within the global discourse. Nine months after the emergence of COVID-19, global stakeholders continue to advocate for increased funding and action to mitigate against the risk of violence on vulnerable populations and support survivors. How much have we learned from research since the beginning of the crisis?
We convened a virtual roundtable to discuss how public and private sector actors can better understand and work together to narrow gender gaps in pay. To operationalize recommendations raised during the discussion, here we present 6 actions for governments that draw on principles of openness and 6 actions for businesses to champion.
By surveying DFIs, we aim to start building a baseline of their gender policies and practices, analyze the data, and make recommendations where stronger policies and practices are needed. The survey’s findings give DFIs an important opportunity to learn from one another and work towards standards for how they can best promote gender equity.
In this policy note, we highlight Pakistan’s Ehsaas Emergency Cash program as a case study, as well as several other examples of cash transfer programs mobilized by governments in light of COVID-19, to reflect how this sort of preliminary analysis can be done.
In this note, we review rigorous studies that have analyzed how COVID-19 and related policies are impacting rates of VAW/C and highlight more reliable methods, while acknowledging limitations of underlying data sources. We propose recommendations for how to both broaden and deepen our collective understanding of how COVID-19 is impacting these forms of violence, and what can be done in response.
COVID-19 school closures pose significant operational and financial risks to frontline organizations delivering vital education services, including non-governmental organizations, school operators, and other service providers. In this survey, we ask these organizations about the challenges they are facing in light of COVID-19 closures, particularly for girls. The responses shed light on how COVID-19 is affecting education service operations—and what providers are doing in response.
Times of economic uncertainty, civil unrest and disaster are linked to a myriad of risk factors for increased violence against women and children (VAW/C). Pandemics are no exception.
From Principles to Practice: Strengthening Accountability for Gender Equality in International Development
This policy note seeks to contribute to maximizing the impact of Beijing +25, and strengthening accountability for global gender equality more broadly, by grappling with three core questions: For what should governments be held accountable? To whom should they be accountable? And how can feminist researchers and advocates hold governments accountable?
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.
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.
A review of the recent evaluation evidence on financial services and training interventions questions their gender neutrality and suggests that some design features in these interventions can yield more positive economic outcomes for women than for men. These include features in savings and ‘Graduation’ programs that increase women’s economic self-reliance and self-control, and the practice of repeated micro borrowing that increases financial risk-taking and choice. Subjective economic empowerment appears to be an important intermediate outcome for women that should be promoted and more reliably and accurately measured. Lastly, whenever possible, results should be sex-disaggregated and reported for individuals as well as households.
The benefits of global trade are numerous and well-documented, but trade channels can still be made more inclusive for women entrepreneurs and wage workers. Incorporating pre-ratification conditions into the trade agreement negotiation process to remove legal barriers against women’s equal participation in the economy (and therefore equal advantages from trade), as well as instituting follow-up enforcement mechanisms, can help to ensure trade benefits women and men more equally going forward.
Just as the evidence suggests that a more gender-inclusive political system may lead to better policies for women and girls and integrating women into corporate boards may mean reaching new consumers, there is a case to be made for increasing women’s presence in developing technology and innovation. Incorporating more women into technology sectors is likely to 1) increase productivity, 2) offers women a source of high-quality jobs, and 3) may have knock-on benefits for female consumers of technology, whose needs are more likely to be taken into account.
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.
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.
Women’s economic empowerment is increasingly recognized as critical to achieving development outcomes around the world. Informed by a roundtable discussion at the Center for Global Development (CGD) and additional suggestions from CGD researchers, this four-point memo aims to issue practical proposals for the next US administration, particularly aimed at economically empowering women and girls worldwide, as a building block toward the full realization of broader gender equality and women’s agency and empowerment. The recommendations build on those in CGD’s The White House and the World briefing book, as well as the CGD policy memo “A US Law or Executive Order to Combat Gender Apartheid in Discriminatory Countries” and ongoing work at CGD focused on women’s financial inclusion.