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
    Policy Solutions to Close Gender Gaps in the Agriculture Sector in Nigeria
    (Washington, DC, 2022-07) World Bank
    Substantial gender gaps exist in labor force participation and productivity in the agriculture sector in Nigeria. Closing the gender productivity gap in agriculture could lead to sizable gains in the Nigerian economy, boosting gross domestic product. Key factors driving the gender gaps in agriculture include women farmers’ limited use of farm inputs, choice of lowvalue crops, and lower productivity of hired labor. To successfully close gender gaps, policy makers not only need a detailed account of what drives these gaps, but also a rigorous evidence base on cost-effective policy options. This brief offers guidance on interventions that could be adopted to address the underlying constraints faced by women farmers in Nigeria. These recommendations could also meaningfully inform the framework and implementation of the National Gender Policy on Agriculture.
  • Publication
    Addressing Gender-Based Occupational Segregation: Experimental Evidence from the Republic of Congo
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2022-03-01) Gassier, Marine; Pierotti, Rachael Susan; Rouanet, Lea Marie; Traore, Lacina; Rouanet, Léa
    Gender-based occupational segregation - the fact that men and women are typically concentrated in different occupations and economic sectors - contributes to gender gaps in earnings. In an experiment in the Republic of Congo, the authors examine whether addressing informational constraints around returns from male dominated sectors can encourage young women to apply for training in more profitable male-dominated sectors. There is high potential for interventions that pair information on returns and trade exposure. However, there are gender gaps in access to early opportunities, mainly relevant technical experience and network connections. Providing information on earnings is a low-cost intervention that can encourage young women to crossover to more lucrative trades, thereby reducing the gender gap in earnings.
  • Publication
    Coping with COVID-19 Shocks in Western Uganda
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-09) Sharma, Ambika; Gruver, Ariel; Montalvao, Joao; O'Sullivan, Michael
    In Western Uganda, women farmers and their households were facing widespread agricultural and non-agricultural income shocks in September 2020, indicating a protracted crisis. To cope with these shocks, many households liquidated productive agricultural assets. Women who had higher decision-making power within the household before the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis, appeared to cope better with post-outbreak shocks by engaging in more income-generating activities and having better food security in the household.
  • Publication
    COVID-19 Pandemic Through a Gender Lens
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-06) Copley, Amy; Decker, Alison; Delavelle, Fannie; Goldstein, Markus; O'Sullivan, Michael; Papineni, Sreelakshmi
    The coronavirus (COVID-19) (coronavirus) pandemic has led to disruptions of both social and economic activities across the globe. While the early narrative described COVID-19 (coronavirus) as the "great equalizer," asserting that the virus is capable of infecting anyone, it is critical for policymakers to understand that the impacts of COVID-19 (coronavirus) will not be the same for everyone. Experience from previous epidemics suggest that COVID-19 (coronavirus) will impact groups who are most vulnerable and amplify any existing inequalities across countries, communities, households and individuals. This note focuses on the existing gender inequalities in the economic sphere in Sub-Saharan Africa and summarizes how the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic could affect women and girls disproportionately. It draws on impact evaluation research to showcase policy options to help build women's economic resilience and minimize any potential negative impacts during the pandemic and recovery.
  • Publication
    What’s Mine is Yours: Pilot Evidence from a Randomized Impact Evaluation on Property Rights and Women’s Empowerment in Cote d’Ivoire
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-06) Donald, Aletheia; Goldstein, Markus; Hartman, Alexandra; La Ferrara, Eliana; O'Sullivan, Michael; Stickler, Mercedes
    The protection of formal institutions can help to strengthen women’s property rights, potentially improving welfare and economic efficiency of the household with broader implications. Individual land certification in women’s names and civil marriage registration offer two routes for women towards a more formal delineation of their property rights. In the context of the World Bank Land Policy Improvement and Implementation Project (PAMOFOR), this pilot project examines what drives the take-up of innovative interventions that aim to strengthen women’s property rights in rural Cote d’Ivoire: providing economic incentives for a man to register land in his wife’s name, shifting attitudes through an emotionally resonant video, and encouraging civil marriage in the wake of a new legal reform. Pilot results show how highlighting the benefits of women’s land ownership for family harmony, economic efficiency, and security for the family can induce husbands to reallocate land to their wives.
  • Publication
    COVID-19 Impacts on Women Factory Workers in Ethiopia: Results from High-Frequency Phone Surveys
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-06) Ajayi, Kehinde; Buehren, Niklas; Ebrahim, Menaal; Hailemicheal, Adiam
    As the Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic continues to disrupt international supply chains and local economies, workers employed in export-oriented industries are likely to experience both demand and supply shocks due to the crisis. In Ethiopia, a slowed global economy can pose a significant threat to the country’s industrial parks and their factories in the female-concentrated garment industry, forcing them to lay off workers or even shut down their operations. To monitor the potential effects of the pandemic and support the design of evidence-based policy responses, the gender innovation policy initiative for Ethiopia (GIPIE) is conducting a high-frequency phone survey on a sample of 323 recently hired female factory workers in Ethiopia. This brief reports on the first two waves of data collected between late March and late May 2020, showing the evolution of this sample of female workers’ employment status, earnings, and expectations over the course of the pandemic. Due to the size of the sample and the fact that it only includes recent hires at the Bole Lemi Industrial Park, the results may not generalize for the full population of women factory workers in industrial parks. Data collection from the ongoing high-frequency phone survey of women factory workers in Bole Lemi Industrial Park will continue in the coming months, with recurring surveys every month for a total of 6 rounds. By tracking the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, these data collection efforts aim to equip policymakers with timely, actionable data to better design and implement policy responses in support of Ethiopia’s women factory workers.
  • Publication
    Reducing the Agricultural Gender Gap in Cote d'Ivoire: How has it Changed?
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-02) Donald, Aletheia; Lawin, Gabriel; Rouanet, Lea; Rouanet, Léa
    Over the last decade, Cote d’Ivoire has witnessed a remarkable shrinking of its gender gap in agricultural productivity. When comparing similar households, the gender gap has been reduced by 32 percent.
  • Publication
    Competing Priorities: How Household Income Management Affects Women’s Microenterprises in Urban Ghana
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-01-08) Pierotti, Rachael; Friedson-Ridenour, Sophia
    Cash grants often lead to increases in business profits for male entrepreneurs, but not for female entrepreneurs. This study identifies key household-level factors that constrain women’s ability to grow their business. Through in-depth qualitative research, it provides evidence that intrahousehold relationships influence the business decisions of female microentrepreneurs in urban Ghana. Intrahousehold relationships constrain the decisions women make about their businesses in three primary ways: 1) women hide income and sometimes limit investment in an effort to reinforce their husband’s responsibilities as a primary provider and secure sufficient support, 2) women prioritize savings to meet daily household needs, cover shortfalls in their husband’s financial support, and take care of emergencies, and 3) marital insecurity encourages women to dedicate business income to long-term investments independent of their husbands, such as property or children’s’ education. Efforts to support women microentrepreneurs will need to address barriers to women’s ability to meet daily household needs and to plan for long-term security, in addition to relieving capital constraints. Policy responses could include increasing security by improving marital property rights for women or improving social safety nets to change the calculus that leads women to prioritize savings over investment.
  • Publication
    GIL Top Policy Lessons on Empowering Women Entrepreneurs
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-01) World Bank
    Women make up more than half of the total number of entrepreneurs in Africa. Yet, on average, for every dollar of profits men entrepreneurs earn, women entrepreneurs earn 66 cents. Supporting women to grow their firms would translate into higher economic growth for Sub-Saharan Africa.