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Gender and regional inequalities in adolescent economic empowerment

Policy and programming implications from the GAGE baseline findings

Girls carrying goods to the market in East Hararghe, Oromia, Ethiopia. Photo: Nathalie Bertrams/GAGE 2019

Authors

Nicola Jones
Sarah Baird
Joan Hicks
Megan Devonald
Eric Neumeister
Elizabeth Presler-Marshall
Abreham Iyasu
Workneh Yadete

Publication type:
Policy briefs and policy notes
Date: May 2019

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.

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