This series highlights the work of the five Gender Innovation Labs (GILs) that constitute the GIL Federation, a World Bank community of practice coordinated by the World Bank Gender Group. The briefs include key findings from impact evaluations of development interventions in nine areas (education, labor markets, entrepreneurship, agriculture, land titling, care, social protection, gender-based violence, and adolescent girls). They provide evidence and lessons on how to close gender gaps and foster women’s economic empowerment in these areas. They also serve as an analytical foundation for the World Bank Gender Strategy 2024-2030.
Significant gender gaps in labor force participation persist around the world. When women do work, they are much more likely than men to engage in vulnerable employment with lower earnings and worse working conditions. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered larger losses in employment for women than for men across the globe. Several factors constrain women’s labor force participation and employment outcomes. On the supply side, time and mobility constraints and differences in endowments (skills, assets, and networks) limit women’s labor force participation and wages. On the demand side, discrimination in hiring and retention, lack of jobs with convenient features (childcare, maternity leave, flexible schedules), and skills mismatch are key constraints. All these are combined with contextual factors, including social and cultural norms, that restrict women’s labor force participation. The GIL Federation is generating rigorous evidence around the world to understand what works, and what does not, in supporting women’s labor market participation. This note presents evidence on seven key findings.
Land is a key productive asset for rural households. Property rights play a critical role in determining who can own and access this fundamental resource. More than 70 percent of women across 53 developing countries do not own any land. Customary norms confer disproportionately weaker land rights to women, feeding into a cycle that limits their access to credit and other economic opportunities. Empowering women through stronger land rights can play a central role in the process of economic development. However, overturning existing cultural norms and power structures in the context of traditional (patriarchal) customary land tenure systems can be challenging. There are also concerns that such policy efforts could formalize, even exacerbate, existing gender gaps in land rights. The GIL Federation is generating rigorous evidence around the world to understand what works, and what does not, in increasing access to land titles for women and its effects on women’s empowerment. This note presents evidence on three key findings.
Gender-based violence (GBV) affects more than one in three women over the course of their lifetimes, regardless of social or economic boundaries. Violence against women and girls takes a significant toll on survivors and their families and exacts heavy social and economic costs. In some countries, violence against women is estimated to cost up to 3.7 percent of GDP— more than double of what most governments spend on education. Lockdowns and reduced mobility during the COVID-19 pandemic led to sharp increases in violence against women and girls. The GIL Federation is generating rigorous evidence across the world to understand what works, and what does not, in reducing GBV. This note presents evidence on four key findings based on impact evaluations from three regions.
Several circumstances make women more vulnerable to economic shocks than men. Women are more likely than men to be out of the labor force due to care responsibilities. When they work, women are more likely to have low-paying jobs in the informal sector. Moreover, women have lower access to financial services and other strategies to mitigate shocks. Social protection systems can enable women to cope with and adapt to economic shocks. In particular, adaptive social protection systems can help identify the differential needs of women to prepare support mechanisms and build the resilience of poor and vulnerable households before, during, and after large shocks like the COVID-19 pandemic occur. The GIL Federation is generating rigorous evidence around the world to understand what works, and what does not, in supporting women with social protection interventions. This note presents evidence on four key findings based on impact evaluations.