New impact evaluation (IE) briefs released by the World Bank Group (WBG) highlight the best global strategies to empower girls and women in the world today. Published on August 11th in anticipation of International Youth Day on August 12th, the briefs shed light on interventions tackling current social issues young people, especially girls and young women, face, and showcase what works best to empower them.
The IEs support WBG’s twin corporate goals that aim to educate, empower and employ today’s generation of young people, the largest ever in decades. The briefs, also accessible through enGENDER IMPACT, echo multiple approaches and strategies in addressing three critical social issues: ensuring access to education, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and ending child marriages.
According to the WBG, the IEs take a deeper independent analysis of each of these social issues, giving recommendations on what works best in all the intervention areas. Below are excerpts from the IEs:
Girls and young women deserve to have their sexual and reproductive health and rights to be able to fully realize their dreams. Titled "Advancing Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health: Lessons from World Bank Group Gender Impact Evaluations", the study brief emphasizes the need for multi-pronged approach when drawing interventions that address SRH for girls. There is a need for:
- Comprehensive SRH programs to reduce risk behaviors, increase uptake of condom use and reduce the SRH knowledge gap.
- Incorporating interactive components of SRH education curricula in schools in addition to teacher training and explanation of risk reduction to reduce risk behaviors & increase condom use
- Providing safe spaces where girls can learn vocational training, receive SRH education from peers and mentors, and increase their empowerment
The brief about education titled “Leveling the Playing Field: Lessons from World Bank Group Gender Impact Evaluation on Education” gives an analysis of components of effective interventions to promote education of the girl child as summarized below:
- Strategies combining structural and systematic interventions with individual and family-level financial incentives are most effective in improving education outcomes and narrowing the education gap between boys and girls
- Governments need to everything they can to ease the financial burdens families face to ensure higher levels of school completion among all children
- More targeted emphasis should go towards eliminating the gender gap as girls educational achievements lead to improved health and development outcomes in their adult lives and the lives of future generations.
In the brief "Preventing Child Marriage: Lessons from World Bank Group Gender Impact Evaluations", child marriage is closely linked to poverty and both have a powerful connection to educational opportunities. Recommendations of the best working interventions to end child marriages include:
- Programmatic strategies that increase educational attainment and economic opportunities for girls, preventing the social issue
- Strengthening legal and policy frameworks, and ensuring increased awareness of greater enforcement of existing laws against child marriage
There has been great progress in the last decade to improve the lives of girls and young women. However, persistent challenges remain and many girls still face deprivations and constraints to achieving their full potential. The IEs call for more rigorous and long-term evaluations to determine the best interventions to achieve long lasting empowerment for girls.