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Women’s empowerment in action: evidence from a randomized control trial in Africa

Bandiera, Oriana and Burgess, Robin and Goldstein, Markus and Buehren, Niklas and Gulesci, Selim and Rasul, Imran and Sulaiman, Munshi (2014) Women’s empowerment in action: evidence from a randomized control trial in Africa. Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers, EOPP 50. The London School of Economics and Political Science, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, London, UK.

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Identification Number: EOPP 50

Abstract

Women in developing countries are disempowered relative to their contemporaries in developed countries. High youth unemployment and early marriage and childbearing interact to limit human capital investment and enforce dependence on men. In this paper we evaluate an attempt to jump-start adolescent women’s empowerment in the world’s second youngest country: Uganda. In this two-pronged intervention, adolescent girls are simultaneously provided vocational training and information on sex, reproduction and marriage. Relative to adolescents in control communities, after two years the intervention raises the likelihood that girls engage in income generating activities by 72% (mainly driven by increased participation in self-employment), and raises their monthly consumption expenditures by 41%. Teen pregnancy falls by 26%, and early entry into marriage/cohabitation falls by 58%. Strikingly, the share of girls reporting sex against their will drops from 14% to almost half that level and preferred ages of marriage and childbearing both move forward. The findings indicate that women’s economic and social empowerment can be jump-started through the combined provision of vocational and life skills, and is not necessarily held back by insurmountable constraints arising from binding social norms.

Item Type: Monograph (Report)
Official URL: http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/
Additional Information: © 2014 The Authors
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Sets: Departments > Economics
Research centres and groups > Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines (STICERD)
Research centres and groups > International Growth Centre (IGC)
Date Deposited: 24 Jul 2014 09:56
Last Modified: 24 Jul 2014 09:56
Funders: International Growth Centre, Bank-Netherlands Partnership Programme, Mastercard, Nike, Gender Action Plan of the World Bank, Improving Institutions for Pro-Poor Growth program of Department for International Development (DFID)
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/58207

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