Gender Matters in Economic Empowerment Interventions: A Research Review
This document reviews the recent evaluation evidence on financial services and training interventions designed to increase the productivity and income of the poor; it includes the subset of evaluations where women, with a couple of exceptions, constitute half or more of those in the sample. The interventions reviewed are savings, microcredit, Graduation programs for the very poor that provide bundled services (including a productive asset grant and training), business management training, financial literacy training, job skills training, and other services for young people.
The review makes several contributions to the literature, by:
- Challenging the assumption of gender-neutrality, suggesting that some of these interventions may work relatively better for women than for men (and vice versa).
- Identifying possible underlying mechanisms to explain why these interventions may be more effective for women.
- Isolating design features that are "gender smart"; these features can increase the effectiveness of interventions intended to economically empower women by addressing gender-specific constraints they face.