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BRIEF

Empowering Girls Triggers Their Brothers to Compete

November 23, 2016

Image
© Stephan Gladieu/World Bank

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The World Bank Africa Gender Innovation Lab conducted an experiment in Uganda to examine gender differences in preference for competition
  • Findings show that empowering adolescent girls triggers a surge in their brothers’ competitiveness
  • Results suggest that the benefits of adolescent girls’ empowerment programs may go beyond the participating girls themselves to their brothers

KAMPALA, November 22, 2016 –– An adolescent girls training program implemented in Uganda was shown to empower girls along economic and social dimensions, according to recent impact evaluation results.

The evaluation of the BRAC’s community-based Empowerment and Livelihood for Adolescents (ELA) program shows that the program increased girls’ participation in self-employment, improved their control over their bodies, and shifted deep-rooted gender norms.  

In addition, a lab-in-the-field experiment within the impact evaluation revealed interesting new findings on how empowering girls impacts their brothers willingness to compete.

For communities that participated in the ELA program, the study finds that having an additional sister corresponds to a nine-percentage point increase in the likelihood of a boy entering the experiment’s competitive tournament. In comparison, communities that did not participate in the ELA program, having an additional sister corresponds to a nine-percentage point decrease in the likelihood of a boy entering the experiment’s competitive tournament.

These results reflect the impact of gender equality on intra-household dynamics: when boys are faced with more empowered sister, they increase their competitiveness. Further research will be necessary to understand if the changed behavior in brothers will have persistent effects on girls in the future.