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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.
This is the report of a midline evaluation of a randomized controlled trial to increase the utilization of saving and other financial services by women business owners in Indonesia. The trial was motivated by a recent law in Indonesia supporting the development of branchless banking services for a large unbanked rural population and by the results of several studies suggesting that it is possible to stimulate savings and improve a range of downstream outcomes with suitable interventions targeted to under-banked rural populations.
Although family planning programs can improve women’s welfare directly through changes in realized fertility, they may also have important incentive effects by increasing parents’ investments in girls not yet fertile. We study these potential incentive effects, finding that family planning may have raised raise girls’ educational attainment substantially. We also find that these early investments are linked to gains in women’s paid labor at prime working ages and to greater support for women’s elderly parents (a marker for women’s bargaining power within the household). Notably, these incentive effects may be larger than the direct effects of family planning alone.
On October 4, CGD convened a private roundtable on women and financial technology in development alongside Monica Brand Engel, co-founding partner of Quona Capital (which invests in financial technology solutions in the developing world), and Wendy Jagerson Teleki of the International Finance Corporation. An engaged set of participants from MDBs, government, civil society, and the private sector joined Engel and Teleki in exchanging ideas on how to increase women’s representation in financial technology (or “fintech” for short) leadership and improve access to financial services for women.
“Women’s economic empowerment” has suddenly become the talk of the town, whether that town is Antalya, Davos, or Washington. But will all of the recent high-level talk be backed up by meaningful action? And how do we ensure that actions taken are grounded in evidence? Here we explore women’s economic empowerment as a trend gaining traction and how to make sure that the trend becomes timeless.
CGD founding president Nancy Birdsall has seen a few US presidents come and go in her long career as a leading development economist, but her message to all occupants of the White House has remained fairly steady: Enact smart policies that help developing countries build stable, prosperous economies of their own—and that will help people at home too. This week she joins the CGD Podcast to talk about some of those ideas, and why development should be a priority for the next US president.