India: enhancing girls' life skills recquires long-term commitment

Case Studies & Research
Population Council
3 p.

While adolescents in India face a rapidly changing economic environment, the choices available to unmarried girls are very different from those available to boys. Girls are much less likely than boys to remain unmarried into their twenties, complete middle school, or generate income. Due to social norms, they have limited control over their life choices, and are less likely than boys to be allowed mobility within or beyond their immediate community. In 2001, the Population Council teamed with CARE India to test a pilot intervention to enhance skills and expand life choices for adolescent girls living in the slums of Allahabad. The 10-month intervention tested the effect of the skills intervention on the girls’ reproductive health knowledge, social contacts and mobility, self-esteem, and perception of gender roles. The impacts were assessed using survey responses from girls who were interviewed in both baseline and endline surveys. As noted in this brief, girls and their parents found the life skills training acceptable, but the intervention had little overall impact.

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