What We Learn about Girls’ Education from Interventions That Do Not Focus on Girls (Article)

What is the best way to improve access and learning outcomes for girls? This review brings together evidence from 267 educational interventions in 54 low- and middle-income countries – regardless of whether the interventions specifically target girls – and identifies their impacts on girls. To improve access and learning, general interventions deliver average gains for girls that are comparable to girl-targeted interventions. General interventions have similar impacts for girls as for boys. Taken together, these findings suggest that many educational gains for girls may be achieved through nontargeted programs. Many of the most effective interventions to improve access for girls relax household-level constraints (such as cash transfer programs), and many of the most effective interventions to improve learning for girls involve improving the pedagogy of teachers. Girl-targeted interventions may make the most sense when addressing constraints that are unique to, or most pronounced for, girls.