The studies identify proven and promising interventions to increase women’s productivity and earnings in developing and emerging economies. Specifically, they look at interventions across four categories: entrepreneurship, agriculture, wage employment and youth employment.
Entrepreneurship makes up a significant portion of economic activity for rural and urban women in developing economies where wage employment opportunities are limited. Women entrepreneurs run micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises. These may include income generation projects that poor women undertake in their homes, producers who sell their products in open markets and on the street, and women who own or manage a firm with employees. Typical interventions to increase earnings include credit, savings, insurance, business training, business networks and technical assistance.
Women are responsible for half of the world’s food production, yet they often face greater barriers than men in gaining access to resources such as land, credit and productivity-enhancing inputs and services. Studies show that increasing women’s access to productive inputs has potential to significantly increase global food production. Principal interventions for rural women include agricultural services, access to credit and farming technologies, women’s cooperatives, value chain projects and land titling.
Wage employment is the largest source of employment for women, particularly in growing markets and middle income economies. It encompasses women who are hired by a government agency or private sector firm for formal employment. Primary interventions for women in wage employment include job training, wage subsidies, the provision of child care (on or off-site) and other services that link potential employees with employers. This research will review approaches governments and the private sector have used to increase women’s participation in wage employment.
In low-income countries, up to 72 percent of all young women ages 15 to 24 are neither at school nor in the workplace. Those who complete school often face unique challenges during the transition to the workforce. Research in this category will examine the effect of interventions in aiding young women who are making this transition, including job skills training, job placement services and financial literacy training.