Growth and Women's Economic Empowerment: Can Political Participation Help?

This research project will generate evidence on how women's political participation influences the connection between economic growth and women's economic empowerment. Women, politics, growth Economic growth can have positive effects on women's economic empowerment, but the growth depends on supportive political and economic institutions. This project will analyze how traditional political representation by women in sub-Saharan African countries affects their formal political participation, autonomy, and economic outcomes. This data will illustrate how variations in traditional political representation influence the empowering effects of economic growth on women. The research team will -build two databases to investigate the determinants of women's political power -use the research process to engage with key policymakers in the region -collect elections data at the sub-national level for all countries in Africa Growth and Economic Opportunities for Women This research is supported under the Growth and Economic Opportunities for Women (GrOW) program. GrOW is a five-year, multi-funder partnership of the United Kingdom's Department for International Development, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and IDRC. With a focus on low-income countries in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, GrOW aims to support policies and interventions that improve women's livelihoods and contribute to societal well-being. One component of the program will support 11 projects addressing barriers to women's economic empowerment and gender gaps in earnings and productivity. GrOW will also support a cluster of four projects looking at the intersection of economic growth and women's economic empowerment. This project is among them, selected through a global competitive call.

Project ID


Project status


Start Date

Thursday, July 16, 2015


24 months

IDRC Officer

Madiha Ahmed

Total funding

CA$ 337,100


North of Sahara, South of Sahara, United Kingdom, United States, South Africa


Growth and Economic Opportunities for Women

Project Leader

Dr. James Robinson

Project Leader

Larisa Vladu


The University of Chicago

Institution Country

United States

Institution Website

Project Leader

Sophia W.F du Plessis

Project Leader

Lizel Kleingbiel


University of Stellenbosch

Institution Country

South Africa

Institution Website