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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  • Publication
    Top Policy Lessons in Agriculture
    (Washington, DC, 2022-09) World Bank
    Across Africa, agriculture is a primary sector of employment, and African women provide about 40 percent of the agricultural labor across the continent. Yet women farmers face systemic barriers to success, leading to large gender gaps in agricultural productivity that range from 23 percent in Tanzania to 66 percent in Niger. These gender gaps not only represent major untapped economic potential but could also yield sizable gains for African economies if they were closed. For instance, in Nigeria, closing the gender productivity gap in agriculture could boost gross domestic product by an estimated US2.3 billion dollars and potentially as much as US8.1 billion dollars due to spillovers to other economic sectors. Several factors driving female farmers’ lower productivity are the time and bandwidth taxes from care and household responsibilities, limited access to and control of hired labor and other productive inputs, skills and information gaps, low financial liquidity, and restrictive social norms. Over 90 percent of Sub-Saharan Africa’s extreme poor, who are some of the most vulnerable to shocks, are engaged in agriculture. In the face of crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and global price shocks, that can exacerbate food insecurity, women farmers need targeted support and access to productive inputs that can secure their livelihoods and mitigate existing gender inequalities. Impact evaluation evidence from the Africa Gender Innovation Lab points toward policy solutions that can address many of these constraints and help women farmers reach their full potential.
  • Publication
    What Are the Economic Costs of Gender Gaps in Ethiopia?
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-03) Buehren, Niklas; Gonzalez, Paula; Copley, Amy
    Despite Ethiopia’s remarkable economic progress over the past decade, gender gaps in key economic activities - agriculture, entrepreneurship, and wage employment - indicate that challenges remain to realizing the full potential of women’s economic empowerment. Differences in simple averages between men and women show that women lag men by 36 percent in agricultural productivity, by 79 percent in business sales, and by 44 percent in hourly wages. This brief examines the costs of these gender gaps and estimates the potential gains from closing them.
  • Publication
    Explaining Gender Differentials in Agricultural Production in Nigeria
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2013-10) Oseni, Gbemisola; Corral, Paul; Goldstein, Markus; Winters, Paul
    Nigeria presents a unique case study on differences in agricultural productivity between men and women. This study, which captures a comprehensive picture of agriculture across the nation, shows that female farmers produce 16 percent less per hectare than their male counterparts, when plot size, farmer characteristics, and inputs are taken into account. This gender gap is driven by the North East and Central zones located in the Northern region of the country, where female farmers are 28 percent less productive than male farmers. In this region, women, particularly those who are older, farm on smaller plots and have lower levels of key inputs, notably fertilizer and labor, which is a well-documented pattern in many African contexts. The Southern region, however, does not fit this established pattern. When controlling for key characteristics and factors of production, in the South no gender gap in productivity is observed, though female farmers will benefit from additional herbicide and female labor. The notably different patterns in these two regions of the same country provide ample space for further study. Thus, in order to decrease the country-wide gender gap in production, the authors recommend extending access to fertilizer, hired labor, and cash crops to women - particularly those in the North.