Impact of an Empowerment and Employability Program for Adolescent Girls: Evidence From India


  • Prerna Kumar International Center for Research on Women, Asia
  • Amenla Nuken International Center for Research on Women, Asia
  • Nitin Datta International Center for Research on Women, Asia
  • Aditi Vyas International Center for Research on Women, Asia



adolescent girls, empowerment, employability, self-esteem, self-efficacy, gender attitudes, economic self-efficacy, preparation to work, family support, impact evaluation


Existing research indicates that self-efficacy, aspirations, skills, and an enabling environment are essential for the economic empowerment of adolescent girls. In India, due to deeply rooted patriarchal views and social norms, adolescent girls face a range of social restrictions on their ability to make any decisions about their education or life choices. Plan-It Girls, a multi-level, multi-stakeholder program seeks to build adolescent girls’ agency and promote gender equality to support their aspirations. It equips girls with a gender perspective, life skills, and employability skills to help them transition from school to work through a gender-integrated curriculum while also engaging with significant stakeholders to shift gender norms and create an enabling environment for girls to reach their potential. This evaluation employed a quasi-experimental longitudinal cohort design, with the objective of understanding the program’s impact on the empowerment and employability of adolescent girls. The findings indicate that self-esteem and self-efficacy can be bolstered, and gender attitudes can be shifted in the short run with such a program. Though there were differences by age and program site, overall, the program was found to be effective in equipping girls with employability skills and preparing them for school-to-work transition. The program was impactful in empowering girls during adolescence when they had early exposure to the program. Adolescence is also when gender attitudes are deepening. As such, the program is considering more intentional focus on this age range in future programming efforts.


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