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Call for Proposals: Regional Integration, Trade and Women's Economic Empowerment in South Asia

September 05-October 04, 2022
Call for Proposals Gender Innovation Lab Regional Integration

The World Bank South Asia Gender Innovation Lab is pleased to announce a call for proposals under its Innovation Fellowship Program. Proposals are invited for research aimed at generating evidence and learning on what works to promote economic opportunities for women and mitigate risk factors in the context of regional integration and trade. This call is for any researcher, including PhD students and academics, based in South Asia (i.e., Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives).

The proposal submission deadline is Tuesday, October 4, 2022, at 5 PM Eastern Daylight Time (EDT).

The World Bank’s South Asia Region Gender Innovation Lab (SAR GIL) promotes evidence-based solutions to reduce gender gaps and advance women’s economic empowerment (WEE) across South Asian countries. This call for proposals is launched under SAR GIL’s Women’s Economic Empowerment in South Asia (WEESA) Community of Practice, a virtual platform dedicated to systematic learning, knowledge exchange and networking to facilitate regional cooperation, dialogue, and capacity building on WEE in the South Asian Region.

WEESA is supported by the South Asia Regional Trade Facilitation Program (SARTFP). The program seeks to enhance trade and economic opportunities for people living in the Eastern Corridor of South Asia (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal) with a focus on the economic empowerment of women through greater cross-border trade and commerce, support to micro- and small entrepreneurs, and the inclusive development of infrastructure that connect local communities to regional markets.

Innovation Fellowship Program

WEESA’s Innovation Fellowship Program promotes research and collaboration on Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) in South Asia. Under this call for proposals, we welcome submissions on topics at the intersection of regional integration, trade, and gender equality.

Broad thematic focus areas include:

  • Effects of regional integration on women’s economic empowerment (e.g., through trade, tourism, road, rail or inland waterway infrastructure, migration, or information, communications, and technology).
  • How to promote women entrepreneurs’ access to regional and global value chains, capital, and links to domestic and regional markets.
  • The role of migration in shaping gender roles, attitudes, and intra-household dynamics.
  • Risks of regional integration for women and girls (e.g., exposure to gender-based violence or other economic and social drivers of gender inequality and exclusion).

Successful proposals will either use data from multiple countries in the region, or focus specifically on Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and/or Nepal. The research is expected to be original and rigorous. New research ideas that are possible to complete within the specified timeframe are welcome to apply. Ongoing research projects that are already in progress and well-aligned to the thematic focus of this call are also eligible to apply for additional research support offered as part of this call. Researcher author(s) must ensure that the proposed research does not already exist and is substantively different from existing work.

To maximize impact from the research, author(s) of the most innovative and informative papers will be invited to present their work and research findings at a webinar hosted by SAR GIL’s WEESA platform.