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Adam Smith International has spent the last 20 years dedicated to reducing aid dependency in some of the world’s most complex environments. We are wholly committed to sustainable development that addresses the underlying causes of poverty, but this will not be possible without addressing gender inequality. Equality benefits everyone, not just women. If girls’ attendance in secondary education increases by just 1%, a country’s entire GDP can increase by 0.3%; if women farmers have the same access to land and fertilisers as men, then agricultural output could increase by 4%. This is why we are working to fix systemic challenges that cause gender disparity. A child’s access to education is a human right, yet 62 million girls are out of school. Pakistan is still a key country of concern, but we have already made significant progress towards increasing female enrolment in primary and secondary school. Recognising that some cultural norms require women to be educated separately from boys, we partnered with the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to establish 1,000 community schools for girls. We also launched a voucher scheme in six districts, enabling girls who cannot access government schools to attend low cost private schools. As a result of these initiatives 42,000 more girls are now in primary school. A further 406,712 girls have received stipends to support their secondary schooling. We also worked with the Government to monitor 28,000 public schools for the first time, resulting in a 26% increase in student attendance. In Punjab, we worked with the Government to provide free schooling for children in communities more than 1km away from an existing school, and at the same time, to mobilise communities to demand better education for all children, especially girls. When we invest in women and compensate for historical and social disadvantages, countries prosper and poverty is reduced. All too often, women’s economic contributions go unquantified, their work is undervalued and their potential left unrealised. Our broad range of private sector development programmes are supporting adolescent girls and women obtain high quality skills and transition into formal employment and ensuring women are not excluded from economic markets. Our work in Nigeria alone has increased the incomes of over 393,000 women by an overall total of more than US $25million . Violence against girls and women has a profoundly negative impact on the individual, family, community – and national development. Women who experience physical or sexual violence – over 1 in 3 globally – are less likely to complete their education, find it harder to earn a living, and are more vulnerable to maternal death. We are working to strengthen women’s representation, and professional capacity in key security and justice institutions in Afghanistan, Malawi and Somaliland. We are proud of our achievements so far, but recognise there is more to do. Key areas of development, such as climate change, extractives and governance have historically been viewed as gender neutral, or even gender blind. We aim to go beyond what is expected of us as a development partner to ensure women play a central role in all our work. We have collected the thoughts and experiences of international experts and shared our lessons and case studies from across the world to contribute to the gender debate and, hopefully, show the possibility of equality, for the benefit of all.

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Closing the Gender Gap