Mission statement: We enable project teams and policymakers to better integrate an evidence-based gender perspective into programs and policies.
1) Generate evidence on how closing gender gaps can help achieve other development outcomes and on what works to close gender gaps
2) Promote uptake of effective gender policies and programs
The East Asia and Pacific Gender Innovation Lab (EAPGIL) currently has three focus areas related to improving women’s economic opportunities:
Focus Area 1: Remove barriers to productivity of women farmers and entrepreneurs
Female farmers and entrepreneurs face specific constraints that inhibit their productivity and their ability to compete on an equal footing with male-owned farms and businesses. Women have more limited access to productive assets, most notably to formal land and property rights. Moreover, skills gaps may also inhibit the productivity of women farmers and entrepreneurs. EAPGIL seeks to better understand the specific constraints that female entrepreneurs and farmers face and to identify programs and policies that can enhance their productivity.
Focus Area 2: Reduce trade-offs between women’s household and market roles
Women are expected to fulfill a number of roles within the household, including care for children, the chronically sick or disabled, and the elderly. As the population share over 65 years old increases throughout the region, this burden might also increase. Domestic responsibilities orient women’s employment decisions, such as labor force participation, occupation or hours of work. EAPGIL seeks to better understand the interaction between women’s domestic roles and employment decisions and to identify programs and policies that can enable women to better balance domestic and market roles.
Focus Area 3: Enhance women’s skills
Gender gaps in educational attainment have been closing in the region, although there is heterogeneity across countries. Nevertheless, women are concentrated in certain occupations and sectors of activity and are underrepresented in others. To improve productivity and equality of economic opportunities, women should be encouraged to invest in skill development based on their productivity rather than gender norms about appropriate occupations for women. EAPGIL seeks to generate evidence on gender gaps in skills, how they contribute to labor market disparities and effective programs and policies for women’s skills development.
EAPGIL’s initial work focuses on Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Vietnam.
EAPGIL focuses on generating evidence on how closing gender gaps can help achieve other development outcomes and on what works to close gender gaps. EAPGIL is specialized in conducting rigorous impact evaluations of gender-informed policies and programs, providing both technical support and funding for impact evaluation design, implementation, supervision and analysis. For evaluated programs, EAPGIL may also provide innovation grants, which fund the implementation of additional, innovative solutions to be tested through rigorous evaluation. Moreover, EAPGIL may also fund qualitative deep-dive analysis for programs that will be rigorously evaluated in order to improve project design before evaluation or to better understand the evaluation’s quantitative results. Finally, EAPGIL conducts inferential research to further understand gender-related trends in the region and to answer policy-relevant questions where possible using existing data.
In addition to providing technical support for the design, implementation and analysis of rigorous impact evaluations and other knowledge generating activities, EAPGIL provides technical support to integrate lessons into project and policy design. On the one hand, EAPGIL shares evidence of gender-effective policies and programs in other countries with project teams and policymakers. On the other hand, EAPGIL builds the capacity of operational teams and local stakeholders for evaluation methods and for using results to inform policy through workshops and through collaboration on impact evaluations and other analytical work.
EAPGIL is part of the Federation of Gender Innovation Labs at the World Bank Group and acknowledges the support of the World Bank Group’s Umbrella Facility for Gender Equality (UFGE).
EAPGIL produces different types of knowledge products through impact evaluations and inferential research, which can take the following forms:
Policy briefs: Short, non-technical summaries with a focus on key findings and policy implications
JUNE 2019: Can Community-based Targeting Effectively Select Poorer Beneficiaries for a Large-scale Program? Insights from the LASED Project [English]
NOVEMBER 2018: Why do Indonesian Adolescent Boys Have Poorer Schooling Outcomes than Girls? [English | Bahasa forthcoming]
OCTOBER 2018: Are Mobile Savings the Silver Bullet to Help Women Grow Their Businesses? [English]
JULY 2018: Does Access to Preschool Increase Women’s Employment? [English | Bahasa forthcoming]
Research papers: Longer papers on a specific topic of research (including findings from impact evaluations)
JAN 2018: Gender Streaming in Vietnam [English]
OCT 2017: Preschool Availability and Female Labor Force Participation: Evidence from Indonesia [English]
EAPGIL provides technical support and funding for rigorous impact evaluations of programs that aim to enhance women’s economic opportunities. Specifically, EAPGIL supports impact evaluations related to the following three themes:
1) Removing barriers to productivity of women farmers and entrepreneurs
2) Reducing trade-offs between women’s household and market roles
3) Enhancing women’s skills
Programs to be evaluated are selected through a competitive call for expressions of interest. The first call for expressions of interest closed on November 28, 2016 and received 35 proposals. The following is a list of the currently ongoing impact evaluations at EAPGIL.
1. Promoting Agent Banking through Supply and Demand Incentives
This Impact Evaluation (IE) explores ways to promote financial inclusion for female entrepreneurs in Indonesia. In particular, the IE tests the impact of promoting mobile savings products to female entrepreneurs and asks whether supply-side interventions can work in isolation or whether they have a greater impact when paired with a demand-side intervention. The supply-side interventions provide incentives to branchless banking agents who work for our local partner bank. The IE team randomly allocated agents to groups receiving either high or low incentives for each new client they recruit to use the product. The demand-side intervention consisted of financial literacy training for a randomly-selected sub-set of female entrepreneurs in both the high incentive and low incentive villages. The team is also exploring whether understanding the incentives that the banking agents receive influences the way entrepreneurs perceive the mobile savings products by randomly providing information on the incentives to a subset of entrepreneurs.
For more information, see the following:
2. Indonesia Youth Aspirations and Career Choices IE
There is evidence that men and women sort into different fields of study, sectors of work, and occupations. This sorting along gender lines contributes to the gender wage gap in some countries and can lead to inefficiencies if individuals choose their career paths based on social norms rather than ability.
This IE aims to understand the relationship between socio-emotional skills, aspirations and educational and career choices of middle school students in Indonesia. The sample includes 2,100 public secondary schools on the islands of Java and Sumatera. Specifically, the IE will measure the impacts of a set of modules targeting the development of socio-emotional skills and aspirations in 9th grade students. The IE will also test whether the impacts of a student curriculum can be enhanced when paired with a set of activities and tools teachers can use in daily interactions with students in order to shift the classroom environment and better promote socio-emotional skill development.
For more information, see the following:
3. Childcare, Welfare and Productivity in Cambodia
Although Cambodian factories are required to provide employees with young children either on-site daycare or monthly childcare stipends, the daycares are often understaffed and ill-equipped, and the stipends are insufficient to cover the cost of private daycare facilities. Female factory employees therefore commonly leave children at home with grandparents during working hours. There is concern that caregiving by grandparents, untrained in early childhood development and nutrition, leaves children at risk of malnutrition and of missing key physical, social, and cognitive development milestones. It is also possible that separating from their children increases women’s stress levels and work-related logistical challenges, reducing their labor force participation and productivity.
This IE will explore how employer-provided, on-site daycare services may affect women's labor market outcomes including productivity and economic empowerment, as well as early child development outcomes such as maternal stress and the subjective wellbeing of mothers and children.
4. Philippines Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) IE
The impact evaluation of the Comprehensive Agricultural Reform Program in the Philippines explores the impacts of improving land tenure security by converting collective land titles into individual land titles. It tests the impacts of land reform on agricultural investments and productivity and whether these changes come through increased perceptions of tenure security, through increased access to formal credit or through more efficient land rental and sales markets. The impact evaluation will explore gender disaggregated impacts of land reform and how changes in land tenure may shift intra-household bargaining and decision making on land. It will also contribute to the literature on decision making and its measurements by administering a spousal survey where each of the spouses will provide detailed information on her/his perceptions of how agricultural decisions are made within the household.
5. Indonesia Desmigratif IE
This IE will generate evidence on international migration and the choice between documented and undocumented channels of international migration. A large number of migrant workers in Indonesia are female and women face higher levels of risk when migrating. One important contribution of this project will be to provide evidence on the differences in migration choices and outcomes for male and female migrants.
Specifically, the IE will examine the impact of Desmigratif interventions targeted at potential migrants. For potential migrants, Desmigratif provides information services to encourage safe and documented migration, delivered through Migration Information Centers (MICs) to be established in each project village. The IE will explore the impacts of the Desmigratif program, and of two additional modes of delivering information to potential migrants – through a technological intervention and edutainment intervention– to see which is most effective in affecting the behavior of potential migrants. The technological intervention will consist of providing access to an SMS-based application which provides on-demand access to information on migration. The Edutainment intervention will consist of screening a film which highlights risks of undocumented migration and will specifically target female migrants.
6. Cambodia Land Allocation for Social and Economic Development (LASED) IE
This IE aims to generate evidence on the gender-specific impacts of providing land to the landless on their welfare. It will also analyze the role of supplementary infrastructure, such as roads, access tracks, schools, health posts and wells, in enhancing these impacts. To carry out the IE, the team is digitizing administrative data used during the launch of the program (which currently exists as paper documents only), and the features of the program which led to creation of a perfect control group: allocation of land through random selection (lucky draw) within villages and using a score to determine eligibility (which creates an opportunity for a regression discontinuity design).
7. Laos Road Maintenance Groups IE
This IE is set in the context of an intervention being delivered by the Lao Poverty Reduction Fund (PRF) that offers road maintenance jobs to rural women. These rural roads offer a key source of connectivity to these rural communities and were either created or rehabilitated recently by PRF. However, they require continuous maintenance to ensure they remain usable. In an intervention that is new for the country, PRF is offering the jobs to carry out ‘routine’ maintenance to women living in these communities. By studying the impact of this program, this IE will generate evidence on the effects of workfare programs targeting poor rural women, a group that are particularly disadvantaged since opportunities to supplement on-farm income with wage work or entrepreneurial income are limited by a lack of access to markets for labor, capital or outputs.
8. Laos Clean Stoves IE
The Laos Clean Cookstoves Initiative aims to provides clean burning cookstoves at a highly subsidized price to households in semi-urban Laos that currently use charcoal burning stoves. Although there is a significant amount of literature on the impacts of cookstoves, there is no consensus on the effects of these stoves in a household setting. The cookstoves being offered under this project are more efficient than the cookstoves studied in the existing literature, and importantly, do not use wood-burning fuels like the older stoves. This evaluation will therefore tell us whether these factors are enough to overcome the shortcomings of cookstoves studied so far in the literature, and more broadly, how access to modern cooking technology impacts women’s time use, labor market activities, health, bargaining power and household consumption patterns.
9. Philippines Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program (4P) IE
This IE will study the effects of the 4P program, a core pillar of the government’s social protection strategy in the Philippines that seeks to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty through improved health, nutrition, and education of children. The program provides cash incentives to households on the condition that they invest in the health and education of their children, as well as avail of maternal health services. Studying this intervention can provide important lessons on whether benefitting from CCTs during transition to adolescence leads to long term empowerment and better educational and labor market outcomes and whether CCTs increase agency and empowerment among mothers, who are transfer recipients. The IE will also contribute to knowledge by studying how the measurement of gender-based violence (GBV) can be improved.
EAPGIL organizes events and workshops that seek to achieve one of two objectives. First, EAPGIL provides capacity building workshops for partners and stakeholders of EAPGIL supported impact evaluations. These workshops train participants on impact evaluation techniques and methods and enable the stakeholders to actively contribute to the design and successful implementation of impact evaluations. Participants also gain a results-oriented perspective to program design and implementation. Second, EAPGIL organizes events and workshops to present recent findings on how to better integrate a gender perspective into programs and policies.
To ensure effective allocation of limited funds, EAPGIL organizes competitive calls for expressions of interest (EOI) for technical and financial support of rigorous impact evaluations. Interested teams must complete the EOI form (see an example from our first call here) and follow the submission instructions on the form before the deadline.
The EAPGIL Steering Committee then decides which EOIs to support based on eligibility criteria, funding availability, and the alignment of the proposal with EAPGIL’s priorities. Those whose funding is approved will have the opportunity to collaborate with the EAPGIL team on the development of the impact evaluation concept note, establishment of the evaluation team and other activities related to IE implementation.
EAPGIL carried out its first Call for Expressions of Interest in late 2016. While opportunities for funding beyond currently ongoing activities are currently limited, please contact us if you would like to learn about opportunities to receive technical support or to explore funding possibilities.