As world leaders gather in Ethiopia to chart the future of financing for global development, researchers are showing how investments in women’s health and education can have a critical and enduring impact on the well-being of women and children, and by extension, households and communities.
The Population and Poverty Research Network (PopPov), is holding its Conference on Population, Reproductive Health, and Economic Development in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and is showcasing studies and new evidence on the effect of cash transfers, family planning interventions, education, HIV testing, and employment policies in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
The PopPov research conference comes two weeks before the start of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD), also to be held in Addis Ababa. There, world leaders will set priorities for allocating trillions of dollars to achieve the planned Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. Preparatory documents for the FfD conference indicate that leaders will highlight the central role of gender equity and women’s empowerment in the SDG framework.
Evidence presented at the conference shows that women’s access to appropriate health care, including family planning services, can help women and girls complete more years of education and participate in the labour force. Women with more years of education are more likely to delay marriage and childbearing and to gain the skills necessary for gainful employment. Greater employment, income potential, and better health allow women to contribute more to child, household, and community well-being.
“Research has shown the economic importance of good health and the value for societies of investing in education for women and family planning,” says Ruth Levine, director of the Global Development and Population Program at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, one of the research programme sponsors.
“The research has also examined the effectiveness of specific types of safety net, health, and family planning programs, providing information to decision-makers about how to use precious public resources,” Levine adds.