The policy note synthesises findings from baseline mixed-methods research as part of the Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence (GAGE) longitudinal study (2015–2024). Our work included nearly 7,000 adolescent girls and boys between the ages of 10 and 19, as well as their caregivers, service providers and programme and policy actors.
Paying careful attention to gender and regional differences, here we focus on adolescents’ economic empowerment – which we delineate as employment aspirations; market-appropriate technical, vocational and business skills; access to resource endowments (e.g. land) and assets (e.g. savings and credit); access to decent and age-appropriate employment; and access to age- and gender sensitive social protection. We then discuss key actions to accelerate progress.
Our research found that despite increasingly high economic aspirations, adolescents continue to have few affordable
opportunities to develop market-appropriate skills and limited access to assets and resources. As a result, many young
people are effectively trapped in exploitative work with very limited, if any, safety nets or social protection.