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.