Gender Gaps in Economic Participation and Legal Restrictions Data suggests there is a strong relationship between legal restrictions and labor market participation rates for women across countries. This figure from the IMF, based on a sample of almost 100 countries, illustrates various gender gaps in both economic participation and legal restrictions. Source: https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/sdn/2015/sdn1502.pdf
While several companies have invested in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs aimed at empowering women in their own value chain and in their broader consumer/client communities, a report in 2014 from the International Center for Research on Women, Dalberg, and Witter Ventures found that only three of the 31 corporate-funded women's economic empowerment programs included in the analysis completed a full, rigorous impact evaluation. 𝑾𝒊𝒕𝒉𝒐𝒖𝒕 𝒆𝒗𝒂𝒍𝒖𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏 𝒔𝒕𝒓𝒂𝒕𝒆𝒈𝒊𝒆𝒔 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒑𝒓𝒐𝒄𝒆𝒔𝒔𝒆𝒔 𝒃𝒖𝒊𝒍𝒕 𝒊𝒏𝒕𝒐 𝒑𝒓𝒐𝒈𝒓𝒂𝒎 𝒅𝒆𝒔𝒊𝒈𝒏 𝒘𝒊𝒕𝒉 𝒓𝒊𝒈𝒐𝒓𝒐𝒖𝒔 𝒎𝒆𝒂𝒔𝒖𝒓𝒆𝒎𝒆𝒏𝒕 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒅𝒂𝒕𝒂 𝒄𝒐𝒍𝒍𝒆𝒄𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏, 𝒄𝒐𝒎𝒑𝒂𝒏𝒊𝒆𝒔 𝒄𝒂𝒏𝒏𝒐𝒕 𝒂𝒔𝒔𝒆𝒔𝒔 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒔𝒐𝒄𝒊𝒂𝒍 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒆𝒄𝒐𝒏𝒐𝒎𝒊𝒄 𝒊𝒎𝒑𝒂𝒄𝒕 𝒇𝒐𝒓 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒘𝒐𝒎𝒆𝒏 𝒘𝒉𝒐 𝒑𝒂𝒓𝒕𝒊𝒄𝒊𝒑𝒂𝒕𝒆, 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒊𝒓 𝒇𝒂𝒎𝒊𝒍𝒊𝒆𝒔 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒄𝒐𝒎𝒎𝒖𝒏𝒊𝒕𝒊𝒆𝒔, 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑹𝑶𝑰 𝒇𝒐𝒓 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒃𝒖𝒔𝒊𝒏𝒆𝒔𝒔𝒆𝒔 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒎𝒔𝒆𝒍𝒗𝒆𝒔. There has been increasing concern in the international development community that some of these globally reaching CSR programs are not designed to make long-term meaningful headway on women's empowerment, but rather satisfied with surface-level and short-term fixes. Instituting a comprehensive measurement and evaluation plan is an essential first step to understanding economic empowerment program's impact and to give meaningful impact to the significant investments that many of these companies are contributing. Read more: http://www.wi-her.org/wi-her-series-breaking-barriers-and-raising-the-bar-on-measurement-part-iii-measuring-corporate-womens-leadership-and-economic-empowerment-programs/
Financial inclusion initiatives alone do not lead to empowerment. As Duvendack and Mader show in this systematic review of reviews, financial inclusion had positive effects on women's economic empowerment, but the positive effects were likely due to additional program features, such as ones focused on women's rights and context. This suggests that financial inclusion efforts alone may not improve women's economic empowerment, but they be part of a broader toolkit to pursue it. (For more on gendered outcomes, see pages 74-78). https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/71522/1/Published_Version.pdf
Sweden is one of the most gender-equal societies today, in large part due to the country's feminist government and policies. Even so, a lot still need to be done, including in the business sector, which is still heavily dominated by males. This interactive timeline shows the policies and legal shifts that have made a dramatic -- and positive -- impact on women's participation in the workforce today. https://sweden.se/society/gender-equality-in-sweden/
While this piece is from 2016, it shares an important perspective; it is important to understand and pursue gender equality and economic empowerment based on context and location. The authors argue against the use of universal definitions of economic empowerment and gender equality, because these definitions do not recognize the many variations in economics and what it means to have economic security and mobility. While authors focus on Fiji and the Solomon Islands, the arguments are important to consider in broader contexts as well. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/0966369X.2016.1160036?journalCode=cgpc20
The connections between women's reproductive empowerment and economic empowerment is a recent area of analysis, and evidence over the last five years has been emerging that demonstrates the associations between greater reproductive freedoms and women's increased participation in economic activities. Read more about the intersections of women's economic and reproductive empowerment here: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13545701.2019.1674451
How can we encourage female economic empowerment? WI-HER Program Coordinator Maddison Hall talks about the importance of providing financial literacy education to teach women how to invest both in themselves and their communities.
By Paula Majumdar, May 2020 After an interview with Dr. Michael Mboya, a Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist at the Ministry of Health in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, I gained some insight as to how impactful our Act to End Neglected Tropical Diseases | East gender equity and social inclusion (GESI) trainings are for our participants. I really appreciated his enthusiasm for the topic and hope that we have the opportunity to foster this type of eagerness among participants in the future. Here are his responses below: Before this training what did you think of the word gender? Prior to the training I was already familiar with the concept of gender, however this training brought greater awareness around social inclusion. I learned more about marginalized groups and other pockets in society that are less fortunate. […]