American Institutes for Research and Partners Launch Website on Evidence for Women’s Groups

Consortium seeks to fill research gaps and build the evidence base

Washington, D.C. – Around the world, women join groups or collectives to overcome economic and social barriers to financing, education, healthcare and employment. There is promising research on women’s groups as an intervention strategy to improve gender equality, women’s well-being, and empowerment. However, there remain major gaps in the evidence base that hinder understanding of how these groups operate most effectively, how much they cost, and how to bring them to scale.

The American Institutes for Research (AIR) and its partners today launched a new website for the Evidence Consortium on Women’s Groups, a multiyear collaboration of leading research organizations funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The site will serve as a knowledge hub to inform growing interest in women’s groups nationally and internationally. AIR co-leads this consortium with the Population Council.

“The Evidence Consortium on Women’s Groups generates and synthesizes rigorous evidence to guide development partners, practitioners, researchers and policymakers in implementing and strengthening programming and policies on women’s groups around the world,” said Dr. Thomas de Hoop, a principal economist at AIR and the co-principal investigator of the consortium.

“This new website is one of the first steps in addressing evidence gaps on the impact, implementation, and cost-effectiveness of women’s groups, with a current focus on India, Nigeria and Uganda,” said Dr. Garima Siwach, an economist at AIR and the cost-effectiveness lead of the consortium.   

The website——features open access to:

  • A searchable database of the latest research, updates on research in progress, and plans for upcoming research
  • A learning agenda with six focus areas for research and technical assistance
  • Resources and tools for researchers, including:
    • Guidance for measuring women’s empowerment and economic outcomes, plus field-tested survey instruments and questions for quantitative impact evaluations and mixed-methods studies
    • Guidance for estimating the cost-effectiveness of women’s groups, plus cost data collection and cost summary and analysis tools
  • Research briefs and expert commentary
  • Upcoming events

To strengthen the evidence base, the consortium will start with the implementation of two systematic reviews: one on the effects of savings and self-help groups on asset ownership, and another on the effect of integrated economic and health women’s group interventions in low- and middle-income countries. The consortium will also work on two country-specific research projects: a cost-effectiveness analysis of a self-help group for the rural poor in Bihar, India, and a synthesis of evidence on women’s groups in Uganda. The learning agenda includes a description of additional research projects the consortium aims to implement over the next three years.

About the Evidence Consortium on Women’s Groups

Led by the American Institutes for Research and the Population Council, the consortium includes the Evans School Policy Analysis and Research Group at the University of Washington, Stanford University, the Campbell Collaboration, and the Africa Centre for Systemic Reviews and the School of Women and Gender Studies at Makerere University, Uganda. The consortium is funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. For more information, and to learn about collaborating with the consortium, visit

About AIR

Established in 1946, with headquarters in Washington, D.C., the American Institutes for Research (AIR) is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization that conducts behavioral and social science research and delivers technical assistance both domestically and internationally in the areas of health, education and workforce productivity. For more information, visit

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