Voice and Agency: Empowering women and girls for shared prosperity

The World Bank Group has released a cutting-edge report Voice and Agency: Empowering Women and Girls for Shared Prosperity.

The report describes the barriers that women and girls face worldwide, from epidemic levels of gender-based violence to biased laws and norms that prevent them from owning property, working, and making autonomous decisions. It highlights reforms and interventions from around the world, including STRIVE’s SASA!, a successful community mobilisation program which works to address HIV and VAW in Uganda.

Voice and Agency, which builds on the 2012 World Development Report focuses on several areas that are key to women’s empowerment, including sexual and reproductive health rights, ownership and control of land and housing, political participation and freedom from all forms of violence.

Importantly the report looks at social norms as key drivers. It explores the power of social norms in dictating how men and women can and cannot behave—for example deterring women from owning property or working where laws permit, because those who do become ostracised.

It is clear throughout the report that in all regions, better educated women tend to marry later and have fewer children. It is also clear that educated women have greater autonomy and power to act for the benefit of their families and communities.

The report lays out an urgent agenda for governments, civil society, development agencies and other stakeholders. 

Full Report 

Worldbank launces Voice and Agency newspage

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