In a world of rapid advancement and change, people and societies need a new mixture of skills to thrive. People of all ages need breadth of skills, including collaboration, communication, information literacy, innovation and problem solving to evaluate and apply knowledge in ways that meet the new demands of our changing social and economic landscape. This is particularly the case for the world’s most marginalized girls and young women (here defined as between the ages of 14 and 26), where opportunities to develop breadth of skills would enable girls and young women not only to participate fully and meaningfully in society, but also to successfully navigate and manage everyday social, economic, and political challenges.

While it is clear that breadth of skills—or, what the girls’ education community typically refers to as “life skills”—is a critical outcome of a quality education, what is less certain is which skills are particularly important for girls and young women to succeed and to be empowered. Specifically, there has been little attention to the intersection of girls’ life skills programming and the enabling conditions necessary for girls to successfully transition from lower secondary to upper secondary, from upper secondary to higher education or to the workforce, and from higher education to the workforce. In addition, there has been little attention to the overlap and distinctions between life skills and employability skills, which may be useful in program design, pedagogy, and assessment focused on girls’ transitions.

This Capstone project will explore the critical gaps in girls’ transitions by conducting case study analyses of the mechanics, processes, and outcomes of girls’ life skills programs that aim to transition girls to higher levels of education and to the work force. The objective of these case studies is to gain a better understanding of the components that make for an effective girls’ life skills program, while also understanding how these components interact to contribute to positive transitions outcomes for girls and young women.