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Women's Voice, Agency and Participation


Report: Voice and Agency: Empowering Women and Girls for Shared Prosperity

  Photo: Mary Ellsberg 

Background Papers

Women's Voice, Agency and Participation: Overview

Women's Voice, Agency and Participation: Concept Note

Political Participation

-Markham 2013. Women as Agents of Change: Advancing the Role of Women in Politics and Civil Society 

-Evans & Nambiar 2013. Collective Action and Women's Agency 

Legal Empowerment

-de Silva de Alwis 2014. Women's Voice and Agency: The Role of Legal Institutions and Women's Movements

Land Rights

-Namubiru-Mwaura 2014. Land Tenure and Gender: Approaches and Challenges for Strengthening Rural Women's Land Rights

-Rakodi 2014. Expanding Women's Access to Land and Housing in Urban Areas

Gender-Based Violence

-Arango et al 2014. Interventions to Prevent or Reduce Violence Against Women and Girls: A Systematic Review of Reviews

-Fleming 2013. Engaging Men and Boys in Advancing Women's Agency: Where We Stand and New Directions

-Duvvury et al 2013. Intimate Partner Violence: Economic Costs and Implications for Growth and Development

-Vyas 2013. Estimating the Association Between Women’s Earnings and Partner Violence: Evidence from the 2008-2009 Tanzania National Panel Survey


-Levtov 2014. Addressing Gender Inequalities in Curriculum and Education: Review of Literature and Promising Practices to Inform Education Reform Initiatives in Thailand

About the Report

This major new report distills an array of data, studies and evidence to shine a spotlight on the pervasive deprivations and constraints that face women and girls worldwide—from epidemic gender-based violence to laws and norms that prevent women from owning property, working, making decisions about their own lives and having influence in society. It identifies some promising programs and interventions to address these deprivations and constraints.

The report calls on policy makers and stakeholders to tackle this agenda by drawing on evidence about what works and systematically tracking progress on the ground. This must start with reforming discriminatory laws and follow through with concerted policies and public actions, including multi-sectoral approaches that engage with men and boys and challenge adverse social norms. There is much to gain. Increasing women’s voice and agency is a valuable end in its own right. And it underpins achievement of the World Bank Group’s twin goals of eliminating extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity for girls and boys, women and men, around the world.

What Are Voice and Agency?

Voice is being able to speak up and be heard, and to shape and share in discussions, discourse and decisions.

Agency is being able to make decisions about one's own life and act upon them, to achieve desired outcomes free of violence, retribution or fear.

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