Globally, women represent about half the world’s population, but only 41 percent of the total formal sector workforce. Trends suggest that gains in women’s labor force participation worldwide over the last few decades have been small and slow, still hovering around 51 percent globally, and as low as 21 percent in the Middle East and North Africa. Moreover, labor force participation rates by themselves mask important differences in how and when women and men participate in the world of work.
Gender gaps persist in terms of the types of jobs that women and men have, how much they are paid, and the extent of unpaid work, with significant regional variation as well. Whether we consider entrepreneurs, employees, or farmers, there are many constraints to women’s work. As a result, interventions can take many different approaches to remove constraints and accelerate women’s ability to participate and succeed in the world of work—including in industries and occupations that are dominated by men.
The World Bank Group has long been a leader in innovation and evaluation related to women’s work and earnings. This includes, among many other things, private sector work by the International Finance Corporation to support women in business, and the World Bank’s work on social protection and labor and in strengthening adolescent girls’ transition from school to work.
Relevant outcomes: income; wages; earnings; consumption; labor force participation; job performance; productivity; firm growth; access to credit, land, savings and property; savings; entrepreneurship; investment
Learn more about the World Bank's work to promote gender equality in developing countries.
|IE Title & Author(s)||Country||Gender Outcome(s)||Intervention Category|
|5 Years in Juntos: New Evidence on the Program's Short and Long-Term Impacts |
Perova & Vakis
|Peru||Consumption, income, use of healthcare services, child labor, school enrollment, school attendance||Cash Transfer|
|AIDS treatment and intrahousehold resource allocation: Children's nutrition andschooling in Kenya |
Zivin, et al.
|Kenya||Reproductive Health, school attendance, labor force participation, nutrition||Antiretroviral Treatment|
|Are Cash Transfers Made to Women Spent Like Other Sources of Income? |
Schady & Rosero
|Ecuador||Nutrition, intrahousehold bargaining, consumption||Cash Transfer|
|Are Women More Credit Constrained? Experimental Evidence on Gender and Microenterprise Returns |
De Mel, et al.
|Sri Lanka||Women's labor force participation, productivity, access to credit||Cash Transfer|
|Assisting the Transition from Workfare to Work: A Randomized Experiment |
Galasso, et al.
|Argentina||Female labor force participation, wages||Cash Transfer, Training|
|Building Women's Economic and Social Empowerment Through Enterprise An Experimental Assessment of the Women's Income Generating Support (WINGS) Program in Uganda |
Blattman, et al.
|Uganda||Gender disaggregated earnings, savings, consumption, psychological agency, domestic violence||Cash Transfer|
|Business Training and Female Enterprise Start-up, Growth, and Dynamics Experimental Evidence from Sri Lanka |
De Mel, et al.
|Sri Lanka||Women's vocational knowledge and skills, job performance, property, access to credit, earnings||Training|
|Can Conditional Cash Transfer Programs Serve as Safety Nets in Keeping Children at School and From Working when Exposed to Shocks? |
De Janvry, et al.
|Mexico||Gender disaggregated school enrollment, child labor||Cash Transfer|
|Cash Transfers, Behavioral Changes, and Cognitive Development in Early Childhood: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment |
Macours, et al.
|Nicaragua||Children's Nutrition, access to healthcare, cognitive skills, non-cognitive skills, Women's labor force participation, psychological agency||Cash Transfer|
|Causal effect of health on labor market outcomes: Evidence from a random assignment iron supplementation intervention |
Thomas, et al.
|Indonesia||Gender disaggregated nutrition, psychological agency, labor force participation, productivity||Iron Supplements|
|Changing Households' Investment and Aspirations through Social Interactions: Evidence from a randomized transfer program |
Macours & Vakis
|Nicaragua||Women's Aspirations, motivation, school attendance, income, property||Cash Transfer|
|Combining Longitudinal Household and Community Surveys for Evaluation of Social Transfers: infrastructure rehabilitation projects in rural Georgia |
Lokshin & Yemtsov
|Georgia||Female labor force participation, school enrollment, school attendance, health risks||Infrastructure Projects|
|Community-Based Conditional Cash Transfers in Tanzania : Results from a Randomized Trial |
Evans, et al.
|Tanzania||Health, school attendance, literary and completion, expenditure, assets and savings, community cohesion||Community-based CCT|
|Community-Based Reintegration in Aceh: Assessing the Impacts of BRA-KDP |
Barron, et al.
|Indonesia||Income, participation and voice in the community||Community Driven Development|
|Community-Driven Reconstruction in Lofa County Impact Assessment |
Fearon, et al.
|Liberia||Participation and voice in community, income||Community Driven Development|
|Community Programs and Women's Participation: The Chinese Experience |
Coady, et al.
|China||Gender disaggregated income, aspirations||Collective Action|
|Conditional Cash Transfers, Adult Work Incentives, and Poverty |
Skoufias & Di Maro
|Mexico||Gender disaggregated labor force participation, income||Cash Transfer|
|Coping with the "Coffee Crisis" in Central America: The Role of the Nicaraguan Red de Proteccion Social |
|Nicaragua||Gender disaggregated consumption, labor force participation||Cash Transfer|
|Credit Constraints, Occupational Choice and the Process of Development: Long Run Evidence from Cash Transfers in Uganda |
Blattman, et al.
|Uganda||Vocational knowledge or skills, labor force participation, productivity, participation or voice in community||Cash Transfer|
|Demand versus Returns? Pro-Poor Targeting of Business Grants and Vocational Skills Training |
Macours, et al.
|Nicaragua||Female income, labor force participation, wages, access to credit||Training, Cash Transfer|
|Does a Picture Paint a Thousand Words? Evidence from a Microcredit Marketing Experiment |
Gine, et al.
|Pakistan||Gender disaggregated access to credit, psychological agency||Microfinance, information intervention|
|Does Community Driven Development Work? Evidence from Senegal |
Arcand & Bassole
|Senegal||Health of women, nutrition, consumption, participation or having a voice in the community||Community Driven Development|
|Does Demand or Supply Constrain Investments in Education? Evidence from Garment Sector Jobs in Bangladesh |
Health & Mobarak
|Bangladesh||Female school attendance, school enrollment||Factories|
|Does it pay firms to register for taxes? The Impact of formality on firm profitability |
Mckenzie, et al.
|Bolivia||Gender disaggregated productivity||Firm Formalization|
|Does Management Matter? Evidence from India |
Bloom, et al.
|India||Productivity of male family members||Business Training|
|Economic Impacts of Professional Training in the Informal Sector: The Case of the Labor Force Training Program in Cote d'Ivoire |
Verner & Verner
|Cote d'Ivoire||Gender disaggregated productivity||Vocational Training|
|Employment Generation In Rural Africa: Mid-Term Results from an Experimental Evaluation of the Youth Opportunities Program in Northern Uganda |
Blattman, et al.
|Uganda||Gender disaggregated income, consumption, labor force participation, participation or voice in community, psychological agency||Cash Transfer|
|Entitled to Work: Urban Property Rights and Labor Supply in Peru |
|Peru||Property, labor force participation||Land Titling|
|Entrepreneurship Training and Self-Employment among University Graduates Evidence from a Randomized Trial in Tunisia |
Premand, et al.
|Tunisia||Gender disaggregated outcomes: entrepreneurship, labor force participation, vocational knowledge or skills, access to credit, aspirations, non-cognitive skills||Training|
|Environmental and Gender Impacts of Land Tenure Regularization in Africa: Pilot Evidence from Rwanda |
Ali, et al.
|Rwanda||Women's property, investment||Land Rights|
|Estimating the Benefit Incidence of an Antipoverty Program by Propensity Score Matching |
Jalan & Ravallion
|Argentina||Gender disaggregated income||Cash Transfer|
|From the Group Up: Impacts of a Pro-Poor Community Driven Development Project in Nigeria |
Nkonya, et al.
|Nigeria||Property, productivity, participation or voice in community||Agricultural Development|
|Gender Bias in Intrahousehold Allocation: Evidence from an Unintentional Experiment |
Braido, et al.
|Brazil||Consumption, intrahousehold decision-making||Cash Transfer|
|Group Diversity and the Impacts on Female Participants: A Quasi-Experimental Study of Income Generating Networks in India |
|India||Savings, access to credit, intrahousehold decision making||Community Development|
|Group versus Individual Liability: Long Term Evidence from Philippine Microcredit Lending Groups |
Gine & Karlan
|Philippines||Women's access to credit||Microfinance|
|Harnessing Emotional Connections to Improve Financial Decisions: Evaluating the Impact of Financial Education in Mainstream Media |
Berg & Zia
|South Africa||Gender disaggregated access to credit, savings||Information Intervention|
|Impact of Social Fund on the Welfare of Rural Households: Evidence from Nepal Poverty Alleviation Fund |
Parajuli, et al.
|Nepal||Participation or voice in the community, consumption||Community Driven Development|
|Impacts of an Early Stage Education Intervention on Students' Learning Achievement: Evidence from the Philippines |
Yamauchi , et al.
|Philippines||Gender disaggregated outcomes: School attainment, wages, migration||Education|
|Impacts of Land Certification on Tenure Security, Investment, and Land Market Participation: Evidence from Ethiopia |
Deininger, et al.
|Ethiopia||Women's owned property, investment||Land Titling|
|Improving Nutrition through Community Growth Promotion: Longitudinal Study of the Nutrition and Early Child Development Program in Uganda |
|Uganda||Gender disaggregated nutrition, income||Early Childhood Development, Deworming|
|Insurance, credit, and technology adoption: Field experimental evidence from Malawi |
Gine & Yang
|Malawi||Gender disaggregated access to credit||Credit and insurance|
|Investing Cash Transfers to Raise Long Term Living Standards |
Gertler, et al.
|Mexico||Investment, consumption||Cash Transfer|
|Labor Market Returns to Early Childhood Stimulation: a 20-Year Follow-up to the Jamaica Study |
Gertler, et al.
|Jamaica||Gender disaggregated income, labor force participation, school attainment, cognitive skills, non-cognitive skills||Preschool|
|Measuring the Effect of a Community-level Program on Women's Empowerment Outcomes: Evidence from India |
Kandpal, et al.
|India||Female labor force participation, intrahousehold bargaining, participation or voice in community||Community Development|
|Money or ideas ? A field experiment on constraints to entrepreneurship in rural Pakistan |
Giné & Mansuri
|Pakistan||Employment, business operations, Expenditures and Assets, Outlook on Life, Decision-Making||Microfinance and business training|
|One-Time Transfers of Cash or Capital Have Long-Lasting Effects on Microenterprises in Sri Lanka |
De Mel, et al.
|Sri Lanka||Productivity, intrahousehold decision making||Cash Transfer|
|Prices or Knowledge? What Drives Demand for Financial Services in Emerging Markets? |
Cole, et al.
|Indonesia||Gender disaggregated access to credit, savings||Training|
|Reintegrating and Employing High Risk Youth in Liberia: Lessons from a randomized evaluation of a Landmine Action an agricultural training program for ex-combatants |
Blattman & Annan
|Liberia||Labor force participation, participation or voice in the community||Training|
|Returns to Capital in Microenterprises: Evidence from a Field Experiment |
De Mel, et al.
|Sri Lanka||Gender disaggregated productivity||Cash Transfer|
|Social Protection in a Crisis: Argentina's Plan Jefes y Jefas |
Galasso & Ravallion
|Argentina||Female labor force participation, income||Cash Transfer|
|Soft Skills or Hard Cash? The Impact of Training and Wage Subsidy Programs on Female Youth Employment in Jordan |
Groh, et al.
|Jordan||Female labor force participation, non-cognitive skills, aspirations, psychological agency||Training, Cash Transfer|
|Split Decisions: Family Finance When a Policy Discontinuity Allocates Overseas Work |
Clemens & Tiongson
|Philippines||Gender Disaggregated: consumption, access to healthcare, property, savings, school performance, intrahousehold bargaining||Migration Permits|
|Testing information constraints on India's largest antipoverty program |
Ravallion, et al.
|India||Knowledge about rights, employment||Information Campaign|
|The Economic Impact of AIDS Treatment: Labor Supply in Western Kenya |
Thirumurthy, et al.
|Kenya||Reproductive health, female labor force participation||Antiretroviral Treatment|
|The Impact of a Conditional Cash Transfer Program on Consumption in Colombia |
Attanasio & Mesnard
|Colombia||Consumption, nutrition after transfers to a female||Cash Transfer|
|The Impact of Access to Free Childcare on Women's Labor Market Outcomes: Evidence from a Randomized Trial in Low-income Neighborhoods of Rio de Janeiro |
Paes de Barros, et al.
|Brazil||Women's labor force participation||Preschool|
|The Impact of an Adolescent Girls Employment Program |
Adoho, et al.
|Liberia||Sexual and Reproductive Health Outcomes, income, wages, earnings, empolyment, savings, aspirations, gender norms||Training|
|The Impact of Ethiopia's Productive Safety Net Program and its Linkages |
Gilligan, et al.
|Ethiopia||Gender disaggregated nutrition, access to credit, employment||Cash Transfers|
|The Impact of Providing Psycho-Social Support to Indigent Families and Increasing their Access to Social Services: Evaluating Chile Solidario |
Carneiro, et al.
|Chile||Gender disaggregated labor force participation, psychological agency||Social Support|
|The Impact of Vocational Training for the Unemployed: Experimental Evidence from Turkey |
Hirshleifer, et al.
|Turkey||Labor force participation, income||Training|
|The Impacts of Cash and In-Kind Transfers on Consumption and Labor Supply |
Skoufias, et al.
|Mexico||Gender disaggregated productivity, consumption||Cash Transfer|
|The Impacts of International Migration on Remaining Household Members: Omnibus Results from a Migration Lottery Program |
Gibson, et al.
|Tonga||Gender disaggregated income, property, nutrition, labor force participation||Migration|
|The Poverty Impact of Rural Roads: Evidence from Bangladesh |
Khandker, et al.
|Bangladesh||Gender disaggregated labor force participation, school attendance||Infrastructure|
|Time Allocation in Rural Households: The Indirect Effects of Conditional Cash Transfer Programs |
|Pakistan||Gender norms, labor force participation||Cash Transfer|
|Two-name Land Use Certificates and Gender Inequality: An Empirical Investigation for Vietnam |
Trung, et al.
|Vietnam||Gender disaggregated income, investment, labor force participation, intrahousehold bargaining||Land Titling|
|Vocational Education Voucher Delivery and Labor Market Returns: A Randomized Evaluation Among Kenyan Youth |
Hicks, et al.
|Kenya||Gender disaggregated vocational training, gender norms||Training|
|Welfare impacts of rural electrification: evidence from Vietnam |
Khandker, et al.
|Vietnam||Gender disaggregated school attendance, gender disaggregated property||Infrastructure|
|What's Advertising Content Worth? Evidence from a Consumer Credit Marketing Field Experiment |
Bertrand, et al.
|South Africa||Gender disaggregated access to credit||Microfinance|
|When is Capital Enough to Get Female Enterprises Growing? Evidence from a Randomized Experiment in Ghana |
Woodruff, et al.
|Ghana||Gender disaggregated productivity, consumption||Cash Transfer|
|Who You Train Matters Identifying Complementary Effects of Financial Education on Migrant Households |
Doi, et al.
|Indonesia||Female vocational knowledge or skills, access to credit||Training|
|Why is Voluntary Financial Education So Unpopular? Experimental Evidence from Mexico |
Bruhn, et al.
|Mexico||Access to credit, savings||Financial Literacy Training|
|Women’s Empowerment in Action: Evidence from a Randomized Control Trial in Africa (updated results from 2012 study) |
Bandiera, et al.
|Uganda||Girls vocational knowledge or skills, labor force participation, psychological agency, reproductive health||Training, Cash Transfer|
|Women's Inheritance Rights and Intergenerational Transmission of Resources in India |
Deininger, et al.
|India||Women's owned property, gender disaggregated school attainment||Legal Reform|