Vocational and business training improves women’s labour market outcomes in LMICs

Added June 26, 2020

Citation: Chinen M, de Hoop T, Alcázar L, et al. Vocational and business training to improve women’s labour market outcomes in low‐ and middle‐income countries: a systematic review. Campbell Systematic Reviews. 2017;13(1):1-195.

What is this? During the COVID-19 pandemic, business closures have led to substantial job losses, which have disproportionately affected women. Programmes to promote employment for women will be needed for the economic recovery.

In this Campbell systematic review, the authors searched for studies of vocational and business training for women in low- and middle-income countries. They restricted their searches to articles published in English and Spanish and did the search in September 2016. They included 3 randomized trials, 2 natural experiments and 21 quasi-experiments, and did a qualitative meta-synthesis of 50 studies.

What was found: Vocational training has small positive effects on employment and income; with larger effects in programmes with a gender focus or that include life skills training or an internship.

Business training combined with cash transfers or life skills training increases the likelihood of self‐employment, and sales or profits.

Business training with cash transfers did not have different effects from business training without cash transfers.

Structural barriers, such as distance and cost of transportation, time constraints for participation, and economic and labour market barriers, limit programme effectiveness.

Gender norms such as occupational segregation and the unequal division of domestic and care responsibilities, as well as the cost and availability of childcare facilities discourage women’s participation in vocational and business training.


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