'Social enterprises are businesses.' Photo (c) Hand in Hand International licensed under CC-BY-2.0, adapted from the original.
'Social enterprises are businesses.' Image ©

Hand in Hand International, licensed under CC BY-4.0 and adapted from the original.

We commissioned the following reports and research to inform our work on gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, and to contribute to knowledge and understanding of the issues in the UK and globally.

Sub-Saharan Africa Education Series: What does the evidence tell us about girls’ education?

(Adobe PDF 1MB)

This report summarises and analyses findings from three research projects into girls education in Sub-Saharan Africa. The reports examine the subject through a big picture overview (our review of literature undertaken with the University of Birmingham), the role of teachers (through our work with the Education Development Trust investigating girls’ education in 477 schools in Kano and Lagos States in Nigeria) and through the opinions and practices of the teachers on our Connecting Classrooms programme.

Assessing the evidence on addressing gender inequality through girls’ education in Sub-Saharan Africa

(Adobe PDF 470KB)

This report by the University of Birmingham’s GSDRC is literature review of girls’ education in Sub-Saharan Africa to:

  • highlight key research relating to the progress, critical issues and ongoing barriers relating to girls’ education in SSA;
  • review evidence on effective interventions in relation to British Council programming areas and UK government priorities and;
  • identify potential programming entry points for the British Council to strengthen their impact on girls’ education in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).

Teachers as agents of change: How teachers are working in schools to improve girls’ education and gender equity in two states in Nigeria

(Adobe PDF 1MB)

Research around girls’ education has tended to focus on girls’ access to education, and the barriers. This research seeks to contribute to a better understanding of how to improve the quality of girls’ education and gender equity in schools – by focussing on the roles played by teachers and their influence on girls’ education.

This research examines the opinions of 1,214 teachers and 455 school leaders in Lagos state and Kano state.

Accelerating Women's Employability Through Social Entrepreneurship: The case of Mombasa, Kenya

We commissioned this report in 2019, to provide market insight on the state of social entrepreneurship in Mombasa County, in Kenya. The report provides insights on specific sectors in Mombasa County with potential to create sustainable jobs for women, the barriers women social entrepreneurs face and the support that women social entrepreneurs require to thrive within the social enterprise sector.

Developing Skills Programming Through a Gender Lens

Gender issues impact on all the contexts in which the British Council works in TVET. Fewer women participate in the labour market than men, they are more likely to be unemployed, have higher risk of vulnerable employment and are less represented in higher paid and senior roles. These issues are both reflected in, and impacted by, gender biases in TVET systems.

We commissioned a review to identify good practice and learning points from our current programme activity and to help us identify practical frameworks and tools to ensure our work is not reinforcing gender inequalities. This document provides a contextual overview, case studies with tools to integrate gender, and recommendations relevant to the British Council and other organisations seeking to mainstream gender equality in their programme work. 

Activist to entrepreneur: the role of social enterprise in supporting women’s empowerment

Empowering all women and girls and achieving gender equality are not only moral imperatives, they are crucial to creating inclusive, open and prosperous societies. This report investigates new ways of addressing and funding this movement despite the daunting barriers, as outlined by the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, that exist.

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Women and girls: Making a lasting difference. A critical reflection on the impact of the British Council’s work with women and girls from 2010 to 2015

This study helps to qualify and understand better the impact of the our work on reducing gender inequality through the empowerment of women and girls.

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Gender equality and empowering women and girls in the UK: Meeting the challenge of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

This study provides an overview of the status of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in the UK in relation to the global commitments to achieving the SDGs by 2030.

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Unlocking a world of potential - core skills for all

This brochure is a product of the global inclusion conference that took place in Dubai in 2016. It focuses on access and engagement, with articles and case studies on inclusive education policies and practice drawn from countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as India and Turkey. Topics include challenging gender inequality, special educational needs, effective leadership, and language learning. The brochure concentrates on how a consideration of theoretical models can empower practitioners to look at issues from a fresh perspective, allowing the development of new ways of thinking and finding new solutions to some old challenges.

Women in Higher Education leadership in South Asia: rejection, refusal, reluctance, revisioning

Based on research conducted in six countries across South Asia (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) this report finds complex and multi-dimensional barriers to women’s leadership in higher education.  These range from social, cultural and economic barriers in each country, the organisational culture in universities, discrimination in recruitment and selection, and unequal power relations.  The report also found some enablers to women achieving leadership positions, including training and development, support and mentorship and international networks and mobility across the region.

Girls Education in Nigeria: Issues, Influencers and Actions

Based on literature reviews this report collates information on gender parity in basic education in Nigeria. It also identifies critical decisions, decision-makers and influencers of girls’ education at school, community and local levels in Nigeria.

Gender in Nigeria Report 2012: Improving the lives of girls and women in Nigeria

This report presented an evidence base on the status of women and adolescent girls in the country. It was developed to influence key decision makers and policy makers in the federal and state governments and the National Assembly, as well as religious leaders, the banking sector, the private sector and civil society.

The 51 per cent

The British Council's collection of essays from around the world which highlight many of the difficulties faced by women.