How Gender Shapes Adolescence: Diverging Paths and Opportunities


A global policy focus since 2000 on the first decade of children’s lives has resulted in impressive achievements, including dramatic reductions in child mortality and the expansion of primary schooling. To uphold and build upon these gains, however, a new focus is needed on the crucial period of adolescence, when gender differences widen, particularly for the poorest children, and decisions are made around education, work, marriage and fertility that have a critical impact on long-term outcomes for girls and boys.

Using unique cohort data that follows the same children over time, Young Lives is able to track how gender inequalities open up during adolescence, and what causes inequality to shift and persist in different ways within and between countries. By doing so, we can provide insights into key windows of opportunity for policymakers to invest in children during the second decade of their lives, to mitigate the worst effects of poverty, broaden the options open to them, and support both girls and boys to reach their full potential.


Feeny, E.; Crivello, G. How Gender Shapes Adolescence: Diverging Paths and Opportunities. Young Lives, Department of International Development at the University of Oxford, Oxford, UK (2015) 6 pp.

How Gender Shapes Adolescence: Diverging Paths and Opportunities

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