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The Birdsall House Conference on Women

Early Childhood Development Through a Gender Lens: Designing Policies that Work for the Whole Family

Tuesday, December 10, 2019 - 9:00am to 6:00pm ET


No matter where they live, women and girls shoulder a disproportionate share of unpaid carework responsibilities, including those focused on childcare. The gendered nature of childcare limits women and girls’ educational attainment, workforce advancement, and full participation in community life. Though a well-recognized barrier to gender equality and economic development, there is still little rigorous evidence on what works to reduce this demand on women and girls’ time – and how early childhood development policies and programs can be better designed with women and girls’ time poverty in mind.

CGD will focus its fifth annual Birdsall House Conference on Women on the linkages between early childhood development and women’s economic empowerment, bringing researchers, practitioners, and policymakers focused on both topics together to learn from one another. The conference will explore evidence-based solutions that benefit mothers, older sisters, other caregivers, and children themselves and discuss how they can be implemented and scaled.


9:00 – 9:15am

Welcome and Introduction (slides)

9:15 – 10:45am

Session 1: Childcare Responsibilities and Women’s Labor Supply


  • Kehinde Ajayi (World Bank): “Women’s Work, Childcare, and Context” (slides)
  • David Evans (CGD): “Public Childcare, Child Development, and Labor Market Outcomes” (slides)
  • Sabrina Habib (Kidogo): “Kidogo: An innovative social franchising model to increase access to quality childcare in Kenya's low-income communities” (slides)

10:45 – 11:00am

Coffee break

11:00am – 12:00pm

Keynote 1: Measuring (and Using) the Unmeasurable: Bargaining Power, Beliefs, and Child Development


  • Orazio Attanasio (Yale University) (slides)

12:00 – 1:00pm


1:00 – 2:30pm

Session 2: Parents’ Beliefs, Aspirations, and Agency


  • Emanuela Galasso (World Bank): "Parental Beliefs, Investments, and Child Development: Experimental Evidence from Chile” (slides)
  • Matthew Jukes (RTI): “Understanding the social classroom: the basis of effective pedagogy?” (slides)
  • Sharon Wolf (University of Pennsylvania): “Clashes in the Classroom: Grappling with Differences in Parent and Teacher Expectations” (slides)

2:30 – 2:45pm

Coffee break

2:45 – 3:45pm

Keynote 2: Parents, Poverty, and Child Potential: Family Effects of Interventions


  • Lia Fernald (University of California, Berkeley) (slides)

3:45 – 4:00pm

Coffee break

4:00 – 5:30pm

Session 3: Childrearing as a Shared Household Responsibility


  • Pamela Jakiela (CGD): “Big Sisters” (slides)
  • Patricia Wekulo (APHRC): “Male involvement in childcare activities and the influence of gender stereotyping in Kenya” (slides)
  • Ruti Levtov (Promundo): “Transforming gender relations to promote child well-being: the experience of Program P/Bandebereho in Rwanda” (slides)

5:30 – 6:00pm 


The Birdsall House Conference on Women

Every year, the Birdsall House Conference on Women brings together leading academics and policymakers to discuss cutting-edge research focused on improving outcomes for women in low- and middle-income countries. The theme of this year’s event is “Early Childhood Development Through a Gender Lens: Designing Policies that Work for the Whole Family.”

Information about previous Birdsall House Conferences is available here:

2018: Women and the Future of Work

2017: Reproductive Choices to Life Chances

2016: Beyond-Aid Approaches to Promoting Gender Equality

2015: Small Changes, Big Impacts, and Lingering Questions

Related Experts

Photo of David Evans
Senior Fellow
Non-Resident Fellow
Pamela Jakiela
Non-Resident Fellow

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