Gender Matters in Economic Empowerment Interventions: A Research Review

Analysis of evaluation evidence on women's financial services and training interventions

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.

About this Publication

By Buvinic, M. , O’Donnell, M.