Many countries struggle with creating more and better jobs, especially when they try to increase the number of women in the labor market. Integrating women from more traditional, rural communities is especially difficult. And, if we are talking about a country with the second lowest female labor participation in the world, it might seem like an impossible task. This is exactly the situation that Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan faced a few years ago, and today they provide an interesting example of how innovative policies can address this challenge.
People are talking about a relatively new financial instrument — called social impact bonds (SIBs) — that can help governments implement social programs without using taxpayers' monies, that is, unless the programs work. In fact, the Economist magazine recently had an article about SIBs. These bonds were introduced by the British in 2010. New York City, working with Goldman Sachs, launched a SIB last year. The White House is exploring SIBs to finance some Department of Labor programs. And emerging markets, with the help of international development agencies, are also showing an interest.