Empowering Women through Development Aid: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Afghanistan

Authored by: Andrew Beath, Christia Fotini, and Ruben Enikolopov

Categories: Statebuilding
Sub-Categories: Democratization and Political Participation, Economic Recovery, Human Development, Political Transitions
Country: Afghanistan
Region: South and Central Asia
Year: 2013
Citation: Beath, Andrew, Fotini Christia, and Ruben Enikolopov. "Empowering Women Through Development Aid: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Afghanistan." American Political Science Review 107, no. 3 (2013): 540-557

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In societies with widespread gender discrimination, development programs with gender quotas are considered a way to improve women's economic, political, and social status. Using a randomized field experiment across 500 Afghan villages, we examine the effects of a development program that mandates female participation. We find that even in a highly conservative context like Afghanistan, such initiatives improve outcomes specific to female participation in some economic, social, and political activities, including increased mobility and income generation. They, however, produce no change in more entrenched female roles linked to family decision-making or in attitudes toward the general role of women in society.