This policy brief explores findings on the changing household dynamics in response to the mandated COVID-19 school closures in Punjab, Pakistan. It presents findings from the first of three rounds of qualitative interviews that are being conducted to support the SMS Girl impact evaluation.
This brief uses the 2018 Dhaka Low-Income Area Gender, Inclusion, and Poverty (DIGNITY) survey to assess the gender gap in safety perceptions and analyze the correlation between women’s safety perception and their labor market outcomes. The analysis shows that women are significantly less likely than men to feel safe in the low-income neighborhoods of Dhaka.
Using the administrative database of Pakistan’s largest online job platform and an online COVID-19 survey, this brief examines the gender impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on labor markets and other well-being indicators.
The Sustainable Development Goals set a triple educational objective: improve access to, quality of, and gender equity in education. This note documents the effectiveness of a multifaceted educational program pursuing these three objectives simultaneously.
This brief investigates the effects of COVID-19 and subsequent economic and educational disruptions on adolescent well-being in Bangladesh. The analysis is based on data from 2,095 in-school adolescents aged 10–18 collected preCOVID-19 through a field survey for an ongoing impact evaluation, and a follow-up virtual survey undertaken early in the pandemic.
This brief examines gender disparities in care work and intra-household tensions among online gig workers in India. The data was collected as part of an online experiment in April 2020, shortly after lockdown measures were implemented to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.
This brief presents initial findings from an ongoing phone survey of families in Punjab, Pakistan designed to assess what is happening to girls’ elementary school education during COVID-19. The data used in this brief describe the experiences of 5,898 families in Punjab between August and October 2020.
Thereview examines experimental and quasi-experimental evidence, such as randomized controlled trials and natural experiments, on interventions and mandates aimed at reducing the care burden on women and enabling their active participation in the economy. The review highlights several interesting findings. First, there is limited causal evidence that explores the impact of care support on women's economic empowerment outcomes. However, where available, care support has shown to improve labor market outcomes for women. Nevertheless, additional barriers, such as deeply ingrained gender norms that discourage women's employment, limited flexible job opportunities, and lack of acceptance as well as quality concerns over institutional care, can hinder the effectiveness of care interventions.
The study summarizes the effects of providing access to microfinance, grants, or loans, as well as varying features of credit contracts, such as repayment timelines. In addition, the brief distinguishes between programs targeting current business owners as well as programs that seek to encourage selection into entrepreneurship and discusses why impacts may vary by gender within the South Asia region.
This review focues on studies that evaluate asset transfer interventions, inheritance laws, and property rights mandates as mechanisms to increase women’s empowerment and economic participation. We define assets both as productive assets and wealth transfers. Productive assets help generate cash streams and wealth transfers are familial assets, such as gifts or dowries. The review finds significant positive impact of asset transfers on women’s economic participation and income. However, impacts on other dimensions of women’s empowerment are less clear and mostly insignificant. The review highlights several research gaps and opportunities for further research.
This systematic review focuses on studies that evaluate self-help group (SHG) programs as a mechanism for achieving changes in women’s economic outcomes. This review is part of a larger systematic review of rigorously evaluated interventions with direct or indirect effects on measures of women’s income, labor market, and empowerment outcomes in the South Asia region.
The review offers insights and impact findings from skill-building interventions targeted for women in South Asia and highlights a significant lack of rigorously evaluated interventions and policies targeting women’s skill-building in the region.
Women’s groups models vary widely across contexts, but context-specific documentation is limited. When such documentation is available, researchers, policymakers, and funders often describe groups inconsistently. The South Asia Gender Innovation Lab partnered with the Evidence Consortium on Women’s Groups to develop a typology that can guide researchers and practitioners in describing women’s groups by using specific characteristics. The typology presented in the brief focuses on economic women’s groups models implemented in South Asia. It identifies implementation models, key characteristics, and their implications for investing in women’s groups to improve economic outcomes in South Asia, using program documentation and evaluation research
The review highlights programmatic recommendations for the field as well as implementation lessons from the included evaluations. Evidence suggests that microfinance and transfer programs show heterogeneous effects, with some promise of transfer programs in combination with social components. Overall, the evidence on the impact of women’s economic empowerment on IPV is complex and the review highlights significant need and presents concise recommendations for future rigorous evaluations of this relationship in SAR and globally.
This review not only focuses on the effects of economic empowerment efforts on age of marriage but also on intervention implementation—what strategies improve the feasibility and sustainability of programming, and minimize unintended harm in SAR? This review contributes to the literature by synthesizing evidence specifically for the South Asia region and highlighting gaps in research to inform work on child marriage going forward.
This paper examines the impact of return migration from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf on the transfer of gender norms to the Indian state of Kerala. Migration to countries in the Middle East has led to significant remittance flows and economic prosperity, although the effects on social norms and attitudes remain largely unexplored. The paper finds that returning migrants from Saudi Arabia tend to exhibit conservative values regarding gender-based violence and extreme attitudes pertaining to the perpetration of physical violence against women.
This study documents the labor market outcomes and time-use patterns of women in urban Bangladesh. Using survey data collected in 2018 in low-income neighborhoods of Dhaka, the paper finds that women with children aged 0–5 years have lower likelihood of labor market participation, lower likelihood of working, and lower likelihood of being an earner, compared to women with no children and women with children aged 6 years or older.
Bangladesh has made remarkable strides in reducing gender gaps that prevent growth from being inclusive. Women are improving their rates of tertiary education, control over fertility, and political participation. Bangladeshi women are also more economically engaged than ever before.
Voices to Choices: Ownership and Control Over Productive Assets
As shown in Voices to Choices: Bangladesh’s Journey in Women’s Economic Empowerment, a new book by the World Bank, ownership and rights over productive assets such as land, housing and livestock are crucial to the economic empowerment of Bangladeshi women.
Voices to Choices: Women's Entrepreneurship in Bangladesh
Voices to Choices: Bangladesh’s Journey in Women’s Economic Empowerment finds that despite growth in entrepreneurship rates, women-run businesses tend to start and stay small. Good practices from around the world suggest how to improve women’s entrepreneurial options.
Voices to Choices: Gender Differences in Use and Control Of Financial Assets In Bangladesh
The World Bank book, Voices to Choices: Bangladesh’s Journey in Women’s Economic Empowerment, finds that Bangladeshi women’s use of financial assets has grown, but women continue to lag behind men in their use of financial services. When women do have access to financial services, they may not have the decision-making power or opportunities to take full advantage of this access.
Voices to Choices: Boosting Labor Force Participation, Employment and Wages for Women in Bangladesh
Bangladesh’s female labor force participation (FLFP) rate increased from 26 percent in 2003 to 36 percent in 2016, as shown in Voices to Choices: Bangladesh’s Journey in Women’s Economic Empowerment, a new book by the World Bank. Still, the rate is low.
Getting to Work: Unlocking Women’s Potential in Sri Lanka’s Labor Force
Despite significant progress in women’s health and education, female labor force participation in Sri Lanka has remained consistently below middle income country averages and even declined in recent years.
Reflections of Employers' Gender Preferences in Job Ads in India : An Analysis of Online Job Portal Data
Using online job portal data and probabilistic regression estimations, the paper investigates the explicit gender bias and salary gap in the Indian job market, reflected in more than 800,000 job recruitment advertisements. Exploring formal and informal sector occupations, the study finds high existence of employers' gender bias in hiring.
To assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children’s education, particularly girls, an impact evaluation (SMS GIRL) was conducted among 5898 families in Punjab, Pakistan. Findings include adolescents – especially boys – are dropping out at much higher levels than initially expected. Being confined to homes during the school closures increased the burden of work for girls. Remote learning is not an effective substitute for in-person learning for nearly every student in Pakistan.
At the outset of the pandemic, GILs were quick to seize on existing country engagements and strong local partnerships to gather evidence on the socio-economic impacts of the crisis on women, incorporating high-frequency telephone surveys, online surveys, and other new data collection methods in their ongoing engagements. They used this evidence to produce contextualized policy recommendations.