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New Evidence Highlights What Works to Empower Girls and Young Women

Washington, August 11, 2014—Educating, empowering, and employing the largest-ever generation of young people is vital to ending poverty and boosting shared prosperity—the World Bank Group's twin corporate goals. New impact evaluation (IE) briefs by the World Bank Group (WBG), released ahead of International Youth Day 2014, shed new light on what works in development interventions targeting girls and young women, who still account for a disproportionate share of the world’s poor and face persistent inequalities at home, school, and work that help keep them and their families in poverty.

These briefs are accessible through en GENDER IMPACT, a resource point capturing World Bank Group gender-related IEs from January 2000 onward. enGENDER IMPACT aims to support global knowledge-sharing and uptake of key lessons and to encourage more and better impact evaluations on key gender topics. The briefs address critical issues for today’s youth: education, child marriage, and sexual and reproductive health.

•    Girls with little or no education are far more likely to be married as children, suffer domestic violence, live in poverty, and lack a say over household spending and their own health care than better-educated peers, which harms them, their future children, and communities. "Leveling the Playing Field: Lessons from World Bank Group Gender Impact Evaluations on Education" draws on 27 IEs in 18 countries, finding that structural interventions combined with individual and family level financial incentives show the greatest promise for improving education outcomes and leveling the playing field for girls—who still battle structural, social, and financial barriers that prevent their enrollment, attendance, and school completion. 

•     "Preventing Child Marriage: Lessons from World Bank Group Gender Impact Evaluations" notes the powerful link between child marriage and poverty as well as educational opportunities: Across 18 of the 20 countries with the highest prevalence of child marriage, girls with no education are up to six times more likely to marry early than girls with a secondary education. This brief synthesizes seven IEs and finds that programs effective in delaying marriage do so by supporting girls’ educational attainment, increasing their perceived value, and expanding their opportunities. Promising interventions are beginning to address the drivers of child marriage, but more rigorous, long-term evaluations are needed. Successful efforts show promise for breaking the cycle of poverty and promoting a more empowered, educated, and employed generation of young women.

To read the full article published on the World Bank, click here.