Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) professors have been working to unearth the policies and programs with the biggest potential positive impact on women and girls across the globe.

The ongoing work, which was showcased as part of International Women’s Day celebrations in March, looked at a wide range of initiatives. They include efforts to prevent teenage marriage and pregnancy, improve access to high-quality education, jobs for financial independence and leadership opportunities, and strengthen decision-making power in families and communities.

So far, J-PAL affiliates have conducted more than 140 evaluations in 39 countries. They looked at seven different sectors: agriculture, finance, labor markets, health, political economy and governance, environment and energy, and education.

Promoting gender equity and empowering women and girls also contributes to poverty reduction. J-PAL affiliate professor Rohini Pande (Harvard; co-director, Evidence for Policy Design) said: “If we, as a society, can empower women politically – as leaders, as informed voters, and as active citizens – we enable them to take control of their own economic lives. This helps ensure that their economic contributions are reflected in the benefits they receive from their country’s growth.”

Affiliate professor Erica Field (Duke) added: “Over the last decade, researchers have generated a body of evidence on the impact of women’s economic and social empowerment, as well as the differential effects that social policies and programs can have on women. It is critical to understand and quantify these impacts in order to design development programs that enhance the well-being of both women and men.”

A number of these evaluations are featured as case studies on the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab website.

J-PAL Global LogoJ-PAL is a network of 146 affiliated professors from 49 universities. Its mission is to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence. It does this through research, policy outreach, and training across six regional offices worldwide.


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