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Barriers to female empowerment: Evidence from a field experiment in Tanzania (Lars Ivar Oppedal Berge, Kjetil Bjorvatn, Fortunata Makene, Linda Helgesson Sekei, Vincent Somville and Bertil Tungodden)

Wednesday 25 April 2018, 1.00PM to 2.00pm

Speaker(s): Vincent Somville

Abstract: Many young girls in developing countries experience early pregnancy and  lifelong dependence upon family and partners, which may prevent them from reaching their full productive and social potential. In this paper, we consider two potential barriers to female empowerment: lack of reproductive health knowledge and lack of economic opportunities, and report from a randomized control field experiment of an empowerment program involving 3900 adolescent girls in 80 schools in rural Tanzania. One group was randomly offered a training program on reproductive health, a second group was offered a program on entrepreneurship while a third group was offered both training programs. The evidence from two rounds of follow-up surveys shows that both the entrepreneurship program and the combined program have empowered the girls in the economic domain, while the impact of the reproductive health training is more muted. These findings suggest that entrepreneurship training is more important than health training in empowering the adolescent girls. Regarding the health domain, preliminary evidence from a third long term follow-up reveals strong changes on fertility and reductions in sexually communicable diseases, suggesting that the economic improvements were accompanied by a stabilization in sexual relationships and health improvements.

Location: A/EW003 Alcuin East Wing

Admission: All welcome