Investing in the pathways to employment

For adolescent girls and young women in low and middle-income countries

UNICEF/UN0294853/Frank Dejongh


Nearly 1 in 4 girls aged 15–19 globally are not in education, employment or training, compared to 1 in 10 boys. There is catalytic promise for social impact and economic growth if more public, non-profit and private interventions are intentionally designed with and for adolescent girls and young women – one in eight people in the world – to close the persistent gender gaps in education, learning and economic participation.

There is currently more than US$21 billion in existing impact investments that are relevant to how girls and young women make the transition from school to working in emerging markets. The analysis presented in this report lays out six core investment themes and examples of investable opportunities and calls on commercial organizations and investors, with an eye on social and economic impact, to adopt bold investment approaches across these themes. This includes patient investment capital through blended and other innovative financing structures as well as concrete due diligence and impact measurements.

At the core we’re advocating for an increased role by private capital investments to complement non-profit interventions and philanthropic capital to enable adolescent girls and young women to gain access to secondary and tertiary education; build foundational, digital, transferable and job-specific skills in any education or training setting; and secure decent and productive jobs, including self- employment and entrepreneurship. Safety, health and inclusion are also essential, and provide a foundation for success in other investment themes while also being investment themes on their own.

Please contact:

UNICEF, GenderSmart and Volta
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