Empowering Women through Development Aid: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Afghanistan
In societies with widespread gender discrimination, development programs with gender quotas are considered a way to improve women’s economic, political, and social status. Using a randomized field experiment across 500 Afghan villages, we examine the effects of a development program that mandates women’s community participation. We find that even in a highly conservative context like Afghanistan, such initiatives improve female participation in some economic, social, and political activities, including increased mobility and income generation. They, however, produce no change in more entrenched female roles linked to family decision-making or in attitudes towards the general role of women in society.
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