Smart policy for women’s economic empowerment

Despite its recent economic growth, many South Asian economies continue to see relatively poor – and in some cases, declining – indicators for women’s social and economic empowerment. Yet research shows that women’s access to financial resources is correlated with their overall empowerment and benefits others in the household, notably children. At the same time, governments in the region are taking major steps to increase the poor’s access to financial resources and economic opportunities, often through digital innovations like mobile money. How can these initiatives not only be gender-inclusive, but also help grow women’s economic empowerment in the region?

On March 23 and 24, 2017, Evidence for Policy Design (EPoD) at the Harvard Kennedy School, in collaboration with International Growth Centre (IGC) and IFMR LEAD in India, brought together international scholars and policy actors from across South Asia in Kathmandu, Nepal, to share cutting-edge research on how government initiatives to increase financial access and economic opportunities are affecting the region’s women, and to demonstrate practical applications of economic research in support of women’s economic empowerment. A core goal of this event was to bridge the research-to-policy gap by identifying research questions of immediate relevance to policymakers and interest to researchers, and encouraging the development of synergistic research-policy collaborations that maximize the relevance of new research to policy and shorten the road to implementation. Convening dedicated stakeholders from multiple sectors in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh,and Afghanistan created an exciting forum for generating innovative evidence-based solutions to the obstacles to women’s empowerment. The dialogue was divided into two programs: On Day 1, EPoD Co-Director and Mohammed Kamal Professor of Public Policy Dr. Rohini Pande presented opening remarks on how research evidence informs our understanding of women and economic empowerment, and how recent initiatives in financial inclusion may relate to these outcomes.

The event’s concept note and agenda can be found below, along with the official press release.

For more information, please contact the IGC India Central team: indiacentral@theigc.org

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