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Adolescent girls' capabilities in Nepal: A synopsis of the evidence

A student studies in grade 8 at Shree Dharmasthali Lower Secondary School, Pokhara, Nepal. Credit: Jim Holmes for AusAID


Elizabeth Presler-Marshall

Publication type:
Evidence reviews and evidence digests
Date: December 2017

This digest brings together both of GAGE’s comprehensive evidence mappings and summarises what is known about Nepali adolescent girls’ capability development and the interventions meant to support them as they move toward adulthood. Touching on all six capability domains of GAGE’s conceptual framework — education and learning; bodily autonomy, integrity and freedom from violence; sexual and reproductive health, health and nutrition; psychosocial wellbeing; voice and agency; and economic empowerment — it concludes that despite a wealth of evidence, important gaps in our understanding remain. Specifically, we know too little about younger versus older adolescent girls and how to effect longer-term change.

That said, while gendered social norms and poverty continue to shape the lives of Nepali adolescent girls, with sons’ needs and voices prioritised over daughters’ from birth, there is evidence of generational change. Most adolescents support treating girls and boys equitably, girls’ access to education is improving, and marriage rates amongst the youngest girls are declining.

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