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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    The Impact of Strengthening Agricultural Extension Services: Evidence from Ethiopia
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2018-04) Buehren, Niklas ; Goldstein, Markus ; Molina, Ezequiel ; Vaillant, Julia
    Extension services have been implemented on a large scale in developing countries for decades. However, there is little evidence on their impact on the productivity and welfare of farmers. Our study aims to begin to fill this evidence gap with the goal of identifying and encouraging the uptake of best practices for the delivery of extension services by governments.Our findings suggest that strengthening extension services to make them more responsive to the needs of farmers can induce a switch to more commercial, market-oriented agriculture.Female-headed households seem to have benefited equally from the extension services project but it did not contribute to reducing the gender gap in agricultural outcomes as their initial levels of wealth and consumption, as well as labor and capital endowments were lower.Additional research is required to identify extension services designs that contribute to closing the gender gap, by addressing more specifically the challenges faced by women in areas such as labor and capital endowment.
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    Female Enrollment in Male-Dominated Vocational Training Courses: Preferences and Prospects
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2017) Buehren, Niklas ; Van Salisbury, Taylor
    Occupational gender segregation is a worldwide phenomenon that is frequently cited as one of the contributing factors to the gender gap in earnings. Research by the World Bank’s Africa gender innovation lab (GIL) in Uganda and Ethiopia, studied the factors associated with women entrepreneurs’ decision to start a business in a male-dominated trade. One of the main findings of these studies was that women who choose to operate in a male-dominated trade - or crossover - typically do so with the help of husbands or other male family members who have existing connections in these trades. In partnership with United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and Selam David Roschli Technical and Vocational College, the GIL set out to study what motivates students to choose different streams of coursework at a technical and vocational education (TVET) institution and how their personal interest, expectations for future employment, and other factors influence this choice. The strongest predictor of a young woman’s decision to enroll in male-dominated technical and vocation courses is her existing relationships with people who work in the associated trade. When choosing coursework, personal preferences, and future work prospects are rated as more important than the preferences of family and friends. More work needs to be done to pilot and evaluate the impact of interventions that create early points of contact and exposure for young women to professions that are traditionally dominated by men.
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    Female Entrepreneurs Who Succeed in Male-Dominated Sectors in Ethiopia
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2015-10) Alibhai, Salman ; Buehren, Niklas ; Papineni, Sreelakshmi
    In developing countries, female entrepreneurs have low returns. Yet, the few women who cross over into traditionally male-dominated sectors double their profits. So why don't more women cross over? When parents and husbands support them, women are more likely to cross over. When they lack information on the earnings potential in male-dominated sectors, they are less likely to. This suggests a path to promote women entrepreneurs crossing over. The challenges Ethiopian women face in getting jobs and earning income come from a range of sources. Women start from a more difficult situation than men --without easy access to finance, land, training, education and effective business networks. The share of women in Ethiopia without education is almost twice that of men, which in turn limits women entrepreneurs' ability to grow their businesses. Reducing gender inequalities in education and the labor market could increase annual GDP growth in Ethiopia by around 1.9 percentage points.