Research Briefs

GIRL Center Research Briefs present the latest evidence on issues of critical importance and recommend future directions for research, policies, and programs.

Gendered Effects of COVID-19 School Closures: Bangladesh Case Study
Authors: Eashita Haque, Natalie Wyss, Emily EunYoung Cho, and Karen Austrian
Publication Date: March 2022

This brief summarizes a recent study on the impacts of COVID-19 school closures in rural communities in Bangladesh. It clarifies issues of remote learning access, management, and monitoring, as well as new strains on students’ time use. It also reveals general impacts on mental and physical health, economic status, as well as gendered effects including child marriage. Based on evaluations of mitigation measures, recommendations for comprehensive policies, provision of technical, financial, and social support, and improvements in education systems emerged.

Gendered Effects of COVID-19 School Closures: India Case Study
Authors: Neelanjana Pandey, Emily EunYoung Cho, Shilpi Rampal, and Karen Austrian
Publication Date: March 2022

This brief summarizes a case study that assessed the gendered impact of COVID-19 school closures on education, health, well-being, and protection of adolescents in India. Based on surveys and interviews in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, findings point to the digital divide for girls as well as shared barriers to effective remote learning. Informed by the evidence, the study presents recommendations to scale up efforts to improve remote learning, reduce digital divide and strengthen teacher support, with a particular attention to addressing gendered differences.

Gendered Effects of COVID-19 School Closures: Kenya Case Study
Authors: Faith Mbushi, Natalie Wyss, Emily EunYoung Cho, Karen AustrianEva Ireri Muluve, Laura Muthoni, and Beth Kangwana
Publication Date: March 2022

This brief summarizes a case study that assessed the gendered impact of COVID-19 school closures in Kenya. COVID-19 school closures escalated education inequalities especially for girls and young people in rural areas. These closures exacerbated adolescent mental health issues, food and economic insecurity, and experiences of violence. COVID-19 response programs implemented by both the Government of Kenya and non-state actors were not able to fully mitigate the impacts of school closures for adolescents, teachers, or schools. Continued efforts to understand the implications of school closures and to support vulnerable students are needed.

Gendered Effects of COVID-19 School Closures: Pakistan Case Study
Authors: Iram Kamran, Tahira Parveen, Rehan M. Niazi, Maqsood Sadiq, Fatima Azeem, Emily EunYoung Cho, and Karen Austrian
Publication Date: March 2022

This brief summarizes a case study conducted to assess the gendered impacts of COVID-19 school closures on adolescent girls and boys in three districts in the province of Punjab in Pakistan. Data as well as discussions and interviews with adolescents, teachers, and parents shed light on difficulties in accessing and adjusting to remote learning, learning loss, deterioration of behaviors and health, and other effects. Based on these findings and further reflections by stakeholders on the successes and gaps of mitigation measures, the case study proposes recommendations for improved teacher training, digital access, alternative learning options, and a gendered focus in interventions.

Harnessing Data to End Child Marriage: Summarizing Learnings To-Date
Authors: Stephanie Psaki, Momoe Makino, Christina Misunas, Erica Soler-Hampejsek, Fatima Zahra, et al.
Publication Date: October 2021

This brief summarizes key findings from five papers that examine child marriage and interventions to address it. While the findings from each of the papers are briefly noted, the brief focuses on the importance of context in understanding the drivers and impact on child marriage. Based on key findings, the brief offers cross-cutting recommendations for research and programs.

Conceptual Framework of the Drivers of Child Marriage: A Tool to Guide Programs and Policies
Authors: Stephanie Psaki, Andrea J. Melnikas, Eashita Haque, Grace Saul, Christina Misunas, Sangram Kishor Patel, Thoai Ngô, and Sajeda Amin
Publication Date: October 2021

This brief presents a simplified framework to provide key entry points for understanding which drivers of child marriage may be most important in particular contexts. Decision-makers such as researchers, donors, and program practitioners can use the framework to help design programs and policies tailored to these contexts.

Impact of Community-based Girl Groups
Authors: Miriam Temin and Craig Heck
Publication Date: August 2021

Programs increasingly use community-based girl groups (CBGGs) to address risks and empower adolescent girls, but evidence on their impact is not always accessible to decision makers. A closer look at 30 CBGG programs in low- and middle-income countries found that CBGGs had the greatest reported success in improving health and gender attitudes and beliefs, while their effect on health behavior and status is mixed.

Does Education Improve Health in Low- and Middle-income Countries? Results from a Systematic Review
Authors: Stephanie Psaki, Barbara Mensch, Erica Chuang, and Andrea J. Melnikas
Publication Date: June 2019

Despite enormous progress in expanding school enrollment globally, improvements in health have not always followed, raising important questions: Does education, in fact, enable women, men and their families to be healthier? And if so, how? To fill this gap in knowledge, we conducted a systematic review of the evidence for the effects of education on health in low- and middle-income countries.

Delivering Results in Girls' Education: How to Evaluate What Works, What Doesn't, and What We Don't Know
Author: Stephanie Psaki
Publication Date: April 2019

Girls around the world face daunting challenges when it comes to enrolling in primary school, completing secondary school, and gaining the basic knowledge and skills they need to be empowered, healthy, and productive adults. Many governments and organizations have risen to meet that challenge through policies and programs designed to remove common barriers to girls’ education. But as the number of actors in this space grows, and resources to address these challenges remain scarce, it is essential to ensure that investments are targeted toward the most effective policies and programs.

Delivering Impact for Adolescent Girls: Emerging Findings from Population Council Research
Publication Date: December 2018

Despite numerous global commitments to invest in improving the lives of adolescent girls, questions remain as to what package of interventions can deliver the best outcomes. We synthesized findings from nine recent Population Council impact evaluations, conducted around the world, which indicate that empowerment and asset-building interventions for adolescent girls can improve education, health, economic, social capital, gender-equitable attitude, and violence outcomes for girls.

Insights and Evidence Gaps in Girl-Centered Programming: A Systematic Review
Authors: Nicole Haberland, Katharine McCarthy, Martha Brady.
Publication Date: April 2018

Increased attention to the needs of adolescent girls has led to a growing number of programs in low- and middle-income countries. Questions remain, however, about what aspects of program design are most effective. This hinders efforts to effectively allocate resources, scale-up programs, and replicate results across settings. To address these issues, we conducted a systematic review to identify lessons learned and gaps in the evidence base.

Measuring Gender Equality in Education: Lessons From 43 Countries
Authors: Stephanie Psaki, Katharine McCarthy, Barbara Mensch.
Publication Date: October 2017

Using data on trends over 10 years in 43 countries, we go beyond simple measures of gender parity to investigate progress in achieving gender equality in education over the last few decades, and to identify opportunities to accelerate progress by 2030.

The Global State of Evidence on Interventions to Prevent Child Marriage
Authors: Sophia Chae, Thoai Ngo.
Publication Date: October 2017

Growing recognition of the harmful effects of child marriage has placed its elimination on the global and national agenda. To address this problem, we reviewed the global state of evidence on what works to prevent child marriage.