This rigorous review of literature on interventions to enhance girls’
education and gender equality was commissioned by DFID in December 2012.
The review has been conducted by a team of experts on gender and
education, with a range of complementary expertise. The review team set
out to undertake a systematic search through existing databases and
library collections to identify literature on this topic published since
1991. Material has been reviewed firstly through an analysis of the
distribution of studies, methodologically, geographically, and in terms
of an assessment of quality and the nature of funding. Secondly, the
review has generated a conceptual map of the field, which has been used
to consider where published studies cluster, what this indicates about
the type of interventions which have been researched, and current gaps
in knowledge. A systematic approach to reviewing the literature is used
to discuss what research there is on effective and feasible
interventions, and make suggestions for how to expand the research
The research question guiding this review is: On the basis of an
evaluation of evidence, what leads to expansion and improvement in
girls’ education? Under what conditions does evidence suggest that this
expansion and improvement is associated with gender equality within and
A theory of change (ToC) was developed for the study and is used to
discuss key findings.
The report is structured as follows: Chapter 2 outlines the methods used
to conduct the study. Chapter 3 presents the ToC used in the study,
shows how the work reviews clusters at particular nodes of the ToC and
comments on some features of the methodological and regional
distribution of studies. Chapter 4 discusses the analysis of what the
literature indicates, drawing on the major categories of the ToC. It
also highlights key gaps in the knowledge base identified through
evaluation of the evidence. Chapter 5 draws some conclusions, reflects
on some of the strengths and weaknesses of the rigorous review
conducted, considers some of the key gaps and outlines some themes for a
future research agenda.
Unterhalter, E.; North, A.; Arnot, M.; Lloyd, C.; Moletsane, L.; Murphy-Graham, E.; Parkes, J.; Saito, M. Interventions to enhance girls’ education and gender equality. Education rigorous literature review. DFID, London, UK (2014) iii + 105 pp.