The Report

The report summarizes the findings of 18 research efforts commissioned specifically for this project across four categories of employment – entrepreneurship, farming, wage employment and young women’s employment. Some conducted new data analysis while others reviewed the existing evidence. The commissions analyzed effectiveness, cost-effectiveness and sustainability of the programs when this information was available. “Some of the commissioned studies conducted new data analyses while others reviewed existing evidence – analyzing available evidence on the effectiveness, cost-effectiveness and sustainability of programs. The project includes a total of 136 published empirical evaluations.”

The research shows that programs must be tailored to the needs of women clients and the context in which they live. Many of the programs identified are simple, cost effective and scalable, with the potential to benefit a significant number of women.

Highlights Report

Full Report

Executive Summary in Spanish

Executive Summary in French

Read more about the 18 research commissions and the key lessons learned here:

  • Entrepreneurship

    Entrepreneurship is a significant source of women’s economic opportunity – employment and income generation – for both urban and rural women in low-income countries. Women entrepreneurs may participate in a wide range of activities, from undertaking income generation projects in their homes, to... View research commissions

  • Farming

    Farming has always been a key occupation for women in developing countries. But most female farmers produce food crops for home consumption rather than cash crops. In recent decades, women’s presence in farming has only continued to grow with the increased importance of agro processing and... View research commissions

  • Wage Employment

    Women are under-represented in wage and salaried employment in low- and lower-middle- income countries. For very poor women who lack the basic assets or tools needed to be self-employed, reasonably paid wage labor outside of the home is often a preferred job option. The key, however, is... View research commissions

  • Young Women's Employment

    For most of the developing world, growing levels of female school attendance, combined with low labor force participation, suggest that young women have a more difficult transition from school to work than young men. In 2011, between 47 percent and 72 percent of young women aged 15 to 24 in low-... View research commissions