Revisiting What Works: Women, Economic Empowerment and Smart Design

What are the most effective interventions to empower women economically?

The Roadmap for Promoting Women’s Economic Empowerment, published in 2013, was developed to help guide private sector actions and investments to empower women economically. The Roadmap used rigorous evidence from 136 empirical evaluations of policies and programs, as well as insights from commissioned papers, to review the effectiveness of actions that have direct, near- term impacts on women’s economic outcomes. It asked what credibly works for women entrepreneurs, farmers, and wage and salaried workers in developing countries, and for whom — all women, very poor, poor, non-poor women and young women — and identified proven, promising and high-potential interventions to increase women’s productivity and earnings in developing countries.

This update to the Roadmap revisits the accuracy of these ratings in light of new evidence published since 2013. Additionally, it identifies possible underlying mechanisms and summarizes those mechanisms in terms of a causal chain of measurable direct, intermediate and final outcomes. Lastly, it identifies aspects of smart design that can increase the effectiveness of interventions aimed at economically empowering women by addressing the gender-specific constraints they face. 

About this Publication

By Buvinic, M. , O’Donnell, M.