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Addressing Gender Barriers to Entrepreneurship and Leadership Among Girls and Young Women

This report analyses how girls’ and young women’s capacity and agency for entrepreneurship and leadership are shaped by their household, community, and wider ecosystem as they move from adolescence into adulthood. The research aims to strengthen the evidence-base to support the advancement of gender equality and tackle gender-related barriers that adolescent girls and young women face in Asia-Pacific, focusing on Indonesia, Thailand and Laos. Taking a human-centered approach, the report aims to understand how girls’ and young women’s opportunities, capacity and agency for empowerment through entrepreneurial skill development is shaped as they move from adolescents to adulthood. Based on the findings, the research presents recommendations of key entry points to address barriers and strengthen enablers to unlock young women and girls’ capacity for entrepreneurship and broader empowerment. This report was commissioned by the UNICEF East Asia and the Pacific Regional Office and the UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub under the Youth Co:Lab initiative co-led by UNDP and the Citi Foundation. In addition to providing country and regional policy recommendations to advance opportunities for girls and young women, the report serves as a strategic output for the regional UNICEF-UNDP partnership, “Empowering youth for more resilient societies in Asia Pacific”.