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Expanding women’s access to quality employment opportunities and productive assets benefits them, their families, and their communities. CGD research examines micro-level interventions such as savings and business training for women, and identifies system-level policies that governments and the private sector could implement to unlock the huge economic potential of women and girls, equal and empowered.
School closures in response to COVID-19 are putting girls in developing countries at a substantial risk of gender-based violence, early pregnancy, and dropping out once schools reopen, according to a new survey from CGD.
The US has a unique opportunity to lead in improving economic opportunities for women and girls by establishing a global vision and a corresponding fund with significant financial resources to spur change. The next US administration should allocate at least $1 billion in additional resources—equal to a little over two percent of current US overseas assistance—exclusively dedicated to advancing gender equality in developing countries, with a specific focus on improving women’s and girls’ economic opportunities and outcomes.
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?
Theory and some empirical evidence suggest the two goals – reproductive rights for women and women’s economic empowerment – are connected: reproductive rights should strengthen women’s economic power. But our understanding of the magnitude of the possible connection and the nature of any causal link (vs. coevolution or reverse causation) in different times and places is limited. In this note we summarize what we know up to now and what more we could learn about that connection, and set out the data requirements and methodological challenges that face researchers and policymakers who want to better understand the relationship.
Changing the law is a good start, but real progress requires changing minds. On this week's CGD Podcast, former President of Malawi Joyce Banda and FGM survivor Kakenya Ntaiya explain why working with existing power structures is the most effective way to protect girls from harmful practices.