7.5 Conclusion: Where Do We Go from Here

Champions continue to advance the field for AGYW; deepening research to reveal pernicious legal and policy challenges that limit adolescent girls and young women’s rights and opportunities, ensuring that programming includes various types of asset-building, and seeking to protect the social and financial assets girls need to escape poverty. Impact evaluations, along with new research about how gender and age impact employment and entrepreneurship, continue to reveal how discrimination against AGYW persist in various forms. Next steps for AGYW include:

  • Test, validate, and document program components that address deeper structural inequalities that impact AGYW. At the 2011 Conference, presenters described new research that revealed mechanisms by which girls are stripped of assets. The field needs to continue to test, validate, and document more approaches that help to better distribute the dependency burden, protect young women from harassment or risk, and change legal codes that discriminate against AGYW. Case studies and experiences from diverse operational contexts will contribute to understanding how to move AGYW programming to national arena, while still getting to “what works” for AGYW at the family and community levels.
  • Enhance non-traditional economic pathways for adolescent girls and young women. Throughout the world, AGYW are channeled into jobs or careers deemed “acceptable” by local gender norms. In some instances, AGYW are subtly influenced, in other circumstances, explicit discrimination factors in. Recent experiences supporting AGYW to pursue non-traditional careers and economic pathways have shown success in changing both AGYW’s self-image and the community’s perceptions of them. Efforts to address gender norms within the education and workforce development sectors will ensure that AGYW are aware of non-traditional pathways and have the information and support necessary to access them.