Promoting Women’s Economic Empowerment: What Works?

  • Date Posted: December 4, 2014
  • Authors: Mayra Buvinic, Rebecca Furst-Nichols
  • Organizations/Projects: World Bank
  • Document Types: Policy, Evaluation, Evidence or Research
  • Donor Type: Multilateral Organization

This paper aims to assess what works to increase women’s productivity and earnings as proxies of economic development. It reviews the empirical evidence of the effectiveness of actions that have a direct impact on women’s economic outcomes and recognizes the importance of complementary investments in women’s human capital and inclusive policies and legal frameworks over the long term. The interventions covered in this paper include providing women with access to capital and savings accounts, business management training, on-the-job and skills training, and job vouchers. It also discusses the impact of the various interventions on different categories of women, such as poor versus non-poor women or young versus adult women. The paper covers the following sections in detail:

  • Methodology of the study;
  • Evidence-based analysis of the impact of access to capital, skills training, on-the-job training, and job vouchers, and savings on economic empowerment of women;
  • Analysis of what works better for economic empowerment of women with consideration of heterogeneity among women, additional constraints faced by them, clever design adjustments that can be adopted, and the advantage of having female autonomy; and
  • Limitations of the study and the knowledge gap that hinders research on women.

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