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UNICEF Innocenti's complete catalogue of international peer reviewed journals

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Cash for Women’s Empowerment? A Mixed-Methods Evaluation of the Government of Zambia’s Child Grant Program

AUTHOR(S)
Juan Bonilla, Rosa Castro Zarzur, Sudhanshu Handa, Claire Nowlin, Amber Peterman, Hannah Ring, David Seidenfeld

Published: 2017
The empowerment of women, broadly defined, is an often-cited objective and benefit of social cash transfer programs in developing countries. Despite the promise and potential of cash transfers to empower women, the evidence supporting this outcome is mixed. In addition, there is little evidence from programs at scale in sub-Saharan Africa. We conducted a mixed-methods evaluation of the Government of Zambia’s Child Grant Program, a poverty-targeted, unconditional transfer given to mothers or primary caregivers of young children aged zero to five. The quantitative component was a four-year longitudinal clustered-randomized control trial in three rural districts, and the qualitative component was a one-time data collection involving in-depth interviews with women and their partners stratified on marital status and program participation. Our study found that women in beneficiary households were making more sole or joint decisions (across five out of nine domains); however, impacts translated into relatively modest increases in the number of decision domains a woman is involved in, on average by 0.34 (or a 6% increase over a baseline mean of 5.3). Qualitatively, we found that changes in intrahousehold relationships were limited by entrenched gender norms, which indicate men as heads of household and primary decision makers. However, women’s narratives showed the transfer increased financial empowerment as they were able to retain control over transfers for household investment and savings for emergencies. We highlight methodological challenges in using intrahousehold decision making as the primary indicator to measure empowerment. Results show potential for unconditional cash transfer programs to improve the financial and intrahousehold status of female beneficiaries, however it is likely additional design components are need for transformational change.
Women’s Individual Asset Ownership and Experience of Intimate Partner Violence: Evidence From 28 International Surveys

AUTHOR(S)
Amber Peterman, Audrey Pereira, Jennifer Bleck, Tia Palermo, Kathryn M. Yount

Published: 2017

Objectives. To assess the oft-perceived protective relationship between women’s asset ownership and experience of intimate partner violence (IPV) in the previous 12 months.

Methods. We used international survey data from women aged 15 to 49 years from 28 Demographic and Health Surveys (2010–2014) to examine the association between owning assets and experience of recent IPV, matching on household wealth by using multivariate probit models. Matching methods helped to account for the higher probability that women in wealthier households also have a higher likelihood of owning assets.

Results. Asset ownership of any type was negatively associated with IPV in 3 countries, positively associated in 5 countries, and had no significant relationship in 20 countries (P < .10). Disaggregation by asset type, sole or joint ownership, women’s age, and community level of women’s asset ownership similarly showed no conclusive patterns.

Conclusions. Results suggest that the relationship between women’s asset ownership and IPV is highly context specific. Additional methodologies and data are needed to identify causality, and to understand how asset ownership differs from other types of women’s economic empowerment.

Women’s economic capacity and children’s human capital accumulation

AUTHOR(S)
Jacobus de Hoop, Patrick Premand, Furio Rosati, Renos Vakis

Published: 2017
Programs that increase the economic capacity of poor women can have cascading effects on children’s participation in school and work that are theoretically undetermined. We present a simple model to describe the possible channels through which these programs may affect children’s activities. Based on a cluster-randomized trial, we examine how a program providing capital and training to women in poor rural communities in Nicaragua affected children. Children in beneficiary households are more likely to attend school 1 year after the end of the intervention. An increase in women’s influence on household decisions appears to contribute to the program’s beneficial effect on school attendance.
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