Feed the Future
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Women's Empowerment in Action: Evidence from a Randomized Control Trial in Africa

This post introduces a paper published by The World Bank Group, which evaluates a policy intervention attempting to jump-start adolescent women’s empowerment in Uganda by providing them vocational training and information on sex, reproduction, and marriage. This paper was authored by Oriana Bandiera, Niklas Buehren, Robin Burgess, Markus Goldstein, Selim Gulesci, Imran Rasul and Munshi Sulaiman.

Abstract

In this paper, the authors evaluate a multifaceted policy intervention which aims to relax human capital constraints that adolescent girls face by providing them vocational training and information on sex, reproduction and marriage. Four years post-intervention, they find that adolescent girls in treated communities are 4.9pp more likely to engage in income-generating activities, an impact almost entirely driven by their greater engagement in self-employment. From this same randomized control trial, teen pregnancy falls by a third, and early entry into marriage/cohabitation also falls rapidly. The share of girls reporting sex against their will drops by close to a third and aspired ages at which to marry and start childbearing move forward. The results of this study highlight the programmatic potential of skills transfers as a viable and cost-effective policy intervention to improve the economic and social empowerment of adolescent girls over a four-year horizon.

Read and download the full paper below.