Africa Gender Innovation Lab

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The Gender Innovation Lab (GIL) conducts impact evaluations of development interventions in Sub-Saharan Africa, seeking to generate evidence on how to close the gender gap in earnings, productivity, assets and agency. The GIL team is currently working on over 50 impact evaluations in 21 countries with the aim of building an evidence base with lessons for the region.

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    Which Socio-Emotional Skills Matter Most for Women’s Earnings? New Insights from Sub-Saharan Africa
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2023-03-30) Ajayi, Kehinde ; Das, Smita ; Delavallade, Clara ; Ketema, Tigist Assefa ; Rouanet, Léa
    Evidence on gender-specific returns to socio-emotional skills in developing economies is lacking. To inform the selection of socio-emotional skills in policy design, a new study mobilizing data from 17 African countries with 41,873 respondents examines gender differences in ten self-reported socio-emotional skills and their relationship with education and earnings. Evidence from the existing literature shows that socio-emotional skills positively influence labor market outcomes. Findings from our sample suggest that women in Sub-Saharan Africa could benefit from training programs designed to improve their socio-emotional skills, as women earn on average 54 percent less than men and report lower levels of socio-emotional skills. Educational attainment, which likely contributes to the increase of socioemotional skills for both men and women, might not be enough to eliminate gender differences in socio-emotional skills, since even among the most educated individuals, women still have lower levels of socio-emotional skills than men. Research on the relationship between socio-emotional skills and labor market outcomes should be deepened to improve the design of future programs teaching socio-emotional skills in Sub-Saharan Africa. Our results suggest that public interventions seeking to equip women with interpersonal skills (e.g., teamwork, expressiveness, and interpersonal relatedness) may provide an effective pathway to reduce gender disparities in the labor market.
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    Finding the Time and Labor to Farm: How Social Dynamics Drive Gender Differences in Agricultural Labor in Southern Nigeria
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2023-03-28) Friedson-Ridenour, Sophia ; Gonzalez, Paula ; Pierotti, Rachael S. ; Olayiwola, Olubukola ; Delavallade, Clara
    Across Sub-Saharan Africa smallholder farmers depend heavily on manual labor supplied by their households, families, and communities, but women are particularly labor constrained. This research paired a detailed quantitative examination of patterns of gender difference in the allocation of time and agricultural labor with an in-depth qualitative examination of how people explain those patterns. The descriptive findings and resulting conceptual framework can be used to guide future programming and research. In southwestern Nigeria, married women’s time and agricultural labor constraints are rooted in common social expectations that men’s farm plots take priority and that a woman’s own farming should not interfere with the agricultural production managed by her husband. Women access lower quantity and quality of labor because of off-farm commitments, and time constraints around when in the day and when in the season labor is allocated to their farm plots. Overcoming agricultural labor constraints for women farmers, especially married women, may require reimagining the role of women and men’s farms in the household. Several new Africa gender innovation lab studies suggest avenues for future innovations to support women producers.
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    Tell Us How We are Doing: Motivating Teams Through Feedback Versus Public Recognition
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-10) Delavallade, Clara
    Motivating service providers to improve the quality of public service delivery is a major development challenge across the globe. This is particularly relevant for women, who are over-represented as providers of essential public services such as healthcare and education in Africa. In the context of a national school nutrition program in the Western Cape province of South Africa, the authors offered either private feedback or public recognition to female school-feeding teams to examine the effectiveness of different incentives schemes when financial rewards are not available. Receiving private feedback on performance boosted workers’ effort more than public recognition. These results suggest that providing performance feedback can be an effective policy for motivating female teams and improving service delivery, more so than mechanisms leveraging public image.