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Women's Economic Empowerment

Gender inequalities can be addressed in PSD no less than in other fields of development. PSD interventions have several types of gender impact:
  • PSD interventions help create new enterprises and improve the chances for survival and prospects for growth of existing enterprises; despite the difficulties, PSD supporters should be able to give women the chance of setting up enterprises and growing their businesses on equal terms with men.
  • PSD measures may generate extra jobs and change the relative demand for male and female labour. In almost all situations, the returns to women’s labour are lower than to men’s labour. PSD can influence the level of women’s earned incomes relative to men’s by increasing demand for female labour or eliminating pay discrimination or both.
  • Many PSD measures focus on the structure and performance of value chains. These should consider the gender balance among all parties involved in a value chain, either as entrepreneurs or as workers, and seek to improve the situation of women in both respects

Click on an entry below to access a website or document. Suggestions for additions to this page are welcome at any time. Click here to contact the DCED Secretariat.

DCED activities

The DCED itself and many of its members are signatories to the Busan Declaration on Aid Effectiveness (December 2011). They accept that “Reducing gender inequality is both an end in its own right and a prerequisite for sustainable and inclusive growth” (Busan Declaration December 2011). In particular, they commit to:

  • Accelerate and deepen efforts to collect, disseminate, harmonise and make full use of data disaggregated by sex to inform policy decisions and guide investments, ensuring in turn that public expenditures are targeted appropriately to benefit both women and men
  • Integrate targets for gender equality and women’s empowerment in accountability mechanisms, grounded in international and regional commitments.

Within the DCED, members have formed a Women’s Entrepreneurship Development Working Group (WED WG), where member agencies are focusing presently on sharing information and experiences of interventions to support women’s entrepreneurship. The group has recently undertaken a scoping exercise on DCED members’ WED interventions, a literature review of household-level indicators and impacts of women’s entrepreneurship development and guidelines for practitioners on measuring women's economic empowerment in private sector development. The latter was presented via webinar - to listen to the recording, and access additional resources including questions answered by the presenters, go to the dedicated webinar page. For more information on the WED Working Group click here.

The DCED itself has developed tools to facilitate monitoring of the gender impacts of PSD interventions. The DCED Standard can be used to measure the gender impact of PSD interventions in terms of employment and entrepreneurship. The DCED will assist both its members’ and other development partners’ efforts to assess and learn from their interventions in this respect.

DCED Publications and other key overview and guidance Documents

DCED Publications

Key Overviews and Guidance Documents

Country Studies

WEE and Business Environment Reform

WEE and Value Chain/ Market Development

WEE and Business Development Services

WEE and Challenge Funds

Useful Resources

Photographs courtesy of Russell Brott, Sudipto Das, Kumar