The World Bank’s Africa Region Gender Innovation Lab (GIL) conducts impact evaluations, which assess the outcome of development interventions in Sub-Saharan Africa, to generate evidence on how to close the gender gap in earnings, productivity, assets, and agency. With the results of impact evaluations, the GIL supports the design of innovative, scalable interventions to address gender inequality across Africa. The goal is to enable project teams and policymakers to advocate for better gender integration using evidence.
The work of the GIL is motivated by gender equality as a fundamental development objective, and because it provides significant instrumental benefits; equal opportunity for men and women enhances productivity and improves many other development outcomes, as highlighted in the World Bank’s 2012 World Development Report: Gender Equality and Development. While Africa is edging towards better outcomes on gender equality, notably in primary education enrollment, severe disparities remain.
The Gender Innovation Lab (GIL) is spearheading efforts to identify scalable solutions for women’s economic empowerment in Africa, to help policymakers and development practitioners to better address gender constraints.
In close collaboration with project teams, the GIL designs, launches, and oversees impact evaluations of new interventions to generate knowledge on which policies work (or not) for closing gender gaps in the economic sectors. The lab also conducts impact evaluation workshops and other capacity building activities, so that others can contribute to and better interpret the knowledge base. Finally, the GIL leverages evidence to promote the uptake of effective gender policies throughout Sub-Saharan Africa.
The Africa Gender Innovation Lab is currently working on more than 40 impact evaluations in over 20 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa.
To meet the needs of a range of audiences, the Gender Innovation Lab packages impact evaluation findings into a variety of knowledge products including policy briefs, research working papers, synthesis papers and data sets.
The GIL works in partnership with units across the World Bank, aid agencies and donors, governments, non-governmental organizations, private sector firms, and researchers.
The lab is supported through the World Bank Group's Umbrella Facility for Gender Equality (UFGE) and in partnership with the United Kingdom and United States. Funding is made possible through generous contributions from the governments of Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The Gender Innovation Lab conducts impact evaluations in four key areas including agriculture, private sector development, land & assets and youth employment, as well as a handful of impact evaluations that explore new areas of research or provide specific support to an ongoing project. The lab is currently working on more than 50 impact evaluations across Sub-Saharan Africa.
In Africa, women are less productive farmers than their male peers. This is because women are concentrated in low value crops, lack access to critical productive inputs such as fertilizer, secure land and credit; face time constraints because of care responsibilities; adopt agricultural innovations at lower rates; and face both explicit and implicit discrimination in the delivery of services. View Agriculture Impact Evaulation Projects
Private Sector Development
Women’s participation in entrepreneurial activities is higher in Sub-Saharan Africa than in any other region – they make up over 50% of the non-farm labor force. However, female owned businesses’ performance is lower than men’s, and throughout Africa, the gender gaps in labor productivity and profitability are very large. Women are more likely to be in smaller, informal firms, and in low value-added industries. View Private Sector Development Impact Evaulation Projects
Land & Assets
The ability of African women to make decisions and control their own property is often constrained within the household, communities, and society at large. These restrictions affect productive investments and thus, women’s economic opportunities and those of their households. For example, in Malawi, 34% of married women are not involved in their households’ spending decisions, while in Kenya, women account for as little as 5% of registered landholders. Of 48 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, 15 still have laws that allow husbands to retain most of the control over marital assets. View Land & Assets Impact Evaluation Projects
There has been significant progress over the past decade in girls’ enrollment in primary and secondary school, but the gender gap remains stark between young women and men who transition into productive work. Adolescent girls tend to have more household responsibilities than boys do, they may not be as qualified for jobs, and social norms about women’s roles in the workplace limit their opportunities. View Youth Employment Impact Evaluation Projects
Other Impact Evaluations
As the Gender Lab grows, work on several impact evaluations has begun that does not fit into one of the four key areas of work. Instead, these impact evaluations address new areas of research or provide specific support to an ongoing project. View Other Impact Evaluation Projects
The Gender Innovation Lab packages impact evaluation findings into a variety of knowledge products including policy briefs, research working papers and synthesis papers.
Research Working Paper
The Gender Innovation Lab releases the datasets generated during impact evaluations for public use.
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