Women’s Empowerment in Action

Evidence from a Randomized Control Trial in Africa

Authored by: Oriana Bandiera, Niklas Buehren, Robin Burgess, et al.

Categories: Human Rights, Humanitarian Emergencies
Sub-Categories: Economic Participation, Human Development, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), Sexual and Reproductive Health
Country: Uganda
Region: Sub-Saharan Africa
Year: 2015
Citation: Bandiera, Oriana, Niklas Buehren, Robin Burgess, et al. “Women’s Empowerment in Action: Evidence from a Randomized Control Trial in Africa.” Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines Paper, London School of Economics and Political Science, 2015.

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Executive Summary

Women in developing countries are disempowered relative to their contemporaries in developed countries. High youth unemployment, early marriage and childbearing interact to limit human capital investment and enforce dependence on men. We evaluate a policy intervention attempting to jump-start adolescent women’s empowerment in the world’s second youngest country: Uganda. The intervention relaxes the human capital constraints that adolescent girls face by simultaneously providing them vocational training and information on sex, reproduction, and marriage. The findings suggest women’s economic and social empowerment can be jump-started through the combined provision of hard and soft skills, in the form of vocational and life skills, and is not necessarily held back by binding constraints arising from social norms or low aspirations.