A year before the COVID-19 pandemic began, Dr. Momoe Makino took a sabbatical from her position as a Research Fellow at the Institute of Developing Economies in Japan to join the Population Council’s  Girl Innovation, Research, and Learning (GIRL) Center in New York City as a visiting research fellow.

The GIRL Center is a global research hub that generates, synthesizes, and translates evidence to transform the lives of adolescent girls.

Dr. Makino is an empirical economist who studies how to enhance women’s empowerment and narrow the gender gap in South Asian countries. Her fellowship with the GIRL Center provided an opportunity to undertake interdisciplinary research on child marriage. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she began investigating the impact of lockdowns on children in rural Bangladesh. The study found that school closures increased the likelihood of families considering marriage for adolescent girls, among other negative outcomes—“a cautionary tale regarding the potential long-term effects of pandemic for girls.”

Since returning to her home institution in Japan, Dr. Makino, now a Senior Research Fellow, has continued her research on child marriage and collaborated with Council colleagues on an analysis of interventions to delay girls’ marriage and pregnancy. She is grateful for her fellowship experience because it “not only broadened my academic perspectives but encouraged me to contribute to the general public in the society.”

Learn more about our Fellows.