The objective of the Program on Women’s Empowerment Research (POWER) is to conduct evidence-based research into the causes and effects of women’s empowerment on human well-being in low- and middle-income settings.

Through POWER, we seek to identify the extent to which policy and programmatic interventions do (or do not) contribute to welfare improvements for women, their families and their communities. Our research focuses on four core domains within the larger women’s empowerment narrative: 

1) Health and Education: Research under this theme will examine how (and the extent to which) investments in women’s health and education a) help women realize their full potential as equal partners in development, and b) improve the well-being of women, their families and society.

2) Mobility and Access: Women’s mobility, ability to access services and travel patterns are notably different from men’s, and these differences are characterized by deep and persistent inequalities. Research under this theme will investigate the social and structural barriers that exacerbate inequalities in women’s mobility and prevent women from accessing public services and engaging with markets.

3) Sustainable Empowerment: Interventions and programs that claim to be economically empowering and welfare-improving for women are often implemented without taking their long-term impacts into consideration. Research under this theme will: a) critically evaluate the extent to which the impacts of programs can be sustained, even after the programs have ended; b) identify the degree to which such programs, and their impacts, can be scaled up; c) investigate the unintended consequences of these programs by exploring a range of economic and welfare outcomes beyond those that were originally targeted.

4) Gender Equality in the Labor Market: Despite significant progress in women’s human capital accumulation in most countries across the world, large gender differences in labor supply, earnings and representation in top positions persist. Research under this theme investigates the constraints faced by women in labor markets across the developing and developed world, and aims to provide policy-relevant lessons to achieve equality.

Research Highlights

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