Summarizing the Key Characteristics, Enabling Environment and Needs of Women-Owned Businesses – MEDA (2020)

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MEDA, 2020 – 24 pages

This report outlines the key characteristics, influencing the environment, and needs of Women-Owned Businesses (WBEs) to support investors and business service providers in Africa to adopt a gender lens within their current practices and policies. This paper starts with a review summarizing the characteristics of WBEs and their enabling environment. It also describes key findings from the primary field research conducted on technical assistance and business support; financial support; and gender-specific considerations. Communalities found across WBEs:

  • Limited access to resources including collateral and other sources of financing.
  • Slow to moderate business growth orientation.
  • Limited knowledge of financing options and financial management.
  • If married and/or have children, added pressure of requiring spousal support and balancing childcare.
  • Low self-confidence to grow their business and seek investment support.
  • Risk-averse to investment and fast growth.
  • Underestimate performance.
  • Childcare & community responsibilities.

Developing Gender-Sensitive Value Chains: A guiding framework – FAO (2016)

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FAO, 2016 – 52 pages

The purpose of this publication is to introduce the Gender-Sensitive Value Chain (GSVC) framework, which facilitates the systematic integration of gender equality dimensions into value chain development programmes and projects. In addition to accounting for the levels of analysis presented in the Sustainable Food Value Chain framework (core and extended VC, national and global enabling environments), the GSVC framework features two additional levels: the household and individual level. Most value chain development approaches stop at the household level. Yet gender inequalities often originate within the household, and individual agency and power might also depend on intrahousehold dynamics. The report raises awareness of gender inequalities and discusses the importance of addressing these dimensions in value chain development, while also building a common approach for work on GSVC development.

This framework is complemented by the Guidelines for practitioners that provide specific tools to support practitioners in designing, implementing, and monitoring GSVC programmes.

Global Gender Gap Report – WEF (2021)

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WEF, 2021 – 405 pages

The Global Gender Gap Index benchmarks the evolution of gender-based gaps among four key dimensions (Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival, and Political Empowerment) and tracks progress towards closing these gaps over time.

Main takeaways:

  • On its current trajectory, it will now take 135.6 years to close the gender gap worldwide.
  • The gender gap in Political Empowerment remains the largest of the four gaps tracked, with only 22% closed to date, having further widened since the 2020 edition of the report by 2.4 percentage points.
  • High-frequency data for selected economies from ILO, LinkedIn and Ipsos offer a timely analysis of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on gender gaps in economic participation. Early projections from ILO suggest 5% of all employed women lost their jobs, compared with 3.9% of employed men. LinkedIn data further shows a marked decline of women’s hiring into leadership roles, creating a reversal of 1 to 2 years of progress across multiple industries.
  • The COVID-19 crisis has also accelerated automation and digitalisation, speeding up labour market disruption. Data points to significant challenges for gender parity in the future of jobs due to increasing occupational gender segregation.
  • Gender-positive recovery policies and practices can tackle those potential challenges.

Promoting Economic Empowerment for Women in the Informal Economy – WOW (2019)

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WOW Helpdesk Guidance No. 1, 2019 – 59 pages

To strengthen WEE outcomes, inclusive growth strategies should focus not only on creating jobs in the formal economy – and ensuring access to those jobs for women – but also on improving the quality of and returns to work in the informal economy. This Note aims to provide an analysis of the gender dynamics of informal work, and a set of corresponding recommendations. Additionally, pathways for improving economic outcomes for women informal workers across four key sectors are identified. The Guidance makes five overall recommendations on how to promote better jobs for women in informal economies as part of inclusive growth strategies and across all economic development programming:

  • Context-specific, gendered analysis of informal work and labour markets, as well as dialogue with stakeholders at the country, sector, or programme level.
  • Work with governments to remove discriminatory laws, promote legal recognition of informal workers and widen the coverage of social protection systems.
  • Partner with private sector companies and other actors to improve visibility of and outcomes for informal workers participating in their supply chains.
  • Monitor gender-related outcomes in terms of quality as well as quantity of jobs.
  • Increase coverage, quality, and accessibility of sex-disaggregated data on informal work.

Key Facts in Women’s Economic Empowerment – WOW (2019)

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2019, WOW – 20 pages

This query supports the ability to influence the investment community by selecting and analysing a set of ‘Key Facts’ that support the case for WEE. Several “facts” on the status of WEE and gender gaps – or on the business or development opportunities of addressing gender gaps – are frequently cited. However, there is often limited understanding of the strength or breadth of evidence that lies behind them. This is a challenge for evidence-based policymaking and where data that is not robust is used, it risks undermining rather than strengthening the case for WEE. The key questions that this query answers are:

  • What are the key facts and opportunities on WEE that would be of most interest to developing country investors and partners involved in entrepreneurship?
  • What is the strength/breadth of that evidence base for these facts and opportunities?

This query focuses on four thematic areas:

  • Creating better jobs and building skills for business performance and growth.
  • Financial inclusion and women’s entrepreneurship.
  • Expanding access to technology and infrastructure.
  • Addressing legal and property rights and workplace discrimination and social norms.

Gender-Sensitive Business Environment Reform: Why does it matter? – A policy guide

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2017, DCED – 11 pages

The premise of this policy guide is that without addressing gender-specific issues or women’s greater vulnerability to business environment constraints at all levels, functions and components of the business environment, women’s employment and entrepreneurship will be hampered. This in turn will have serious implications for WEE, gender equality, jobs, income, and poverty alleviation. It is essential that donors mainstream gender considerations while further seeking to achieve transformative change during business environment reform interventions at all stages of the programme development cycle. As gender influences and is influenced by all aspects of the business environment, it also needs to be considered for all aspects and stages of programming. Critically, any gender-sensitive business environment reform will require addressing not only the factors that directly restrict women’s employment and entrepreneurship but also the socio-cultural binding constraints on women to effectively remove negative implications on economic empowerment and sustainable economic growth.

Toolkits from the UN Secretary-General’s High Level Panel on WEE – UN Women (2017)

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2017, UN Women – online tool

A host of comprehensive resources from the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on WEE, making the case for investment in WEE, its timeliness and the current landscape. The platform also includes several “how -to” guides that detail appropriate courses of action on the seven drivers of transformation:

  • Driver 1: How to change norms in support of women’s economic empowerment
  • Driver 2: How to ensure legal protections and reform discriminatory laws and regulations
  • Driver 3: How to recognize, reduce and redistribute unpaid work and care
  • Driver 4: How to build assets – digital, financial and property
  • Driver 5: How to change business culture and practice
  • Driver 6: How to improve public sector practices in employment and procurement
  • Driver 7: How to strengthen visibility, collective voice and representation

Mainstreaming Women’s Economic Empowerment in Market Systems Development – SDC (2016)

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2016, SDC – 9 pages

This guidance sheet provides a high-level overview of the basic concepts concerning WEAMS and M4P. It is one of a series written to support agency staff in ensuring that gender issues are taken into account transversally in different thematic domains and focuses on market systems development (MSD). It outlines key gender issues regarding women’s economic empowerment in MSD and how these can be integrated into the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of cooperation strategies and project interventions.

Latest Research and Evidence on PSD – Special Feature: Women’s Economic Empowerment – DCED (2019)

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2019, DCED – 5 pages

This update brings together key findings from recent original studies on constraints and solutions to WEE, as well as the social and economic benefits of WEE.

Main takeaways:

  • There are persistent gender gaps in the economic empowerment of women and men in the agricultural sector, across different countries.
  • Economic transformation offers new opportunities for entrepreneurship, wage labour and social

empowerment, but women often benefit less from these than men.

  • In the area of agricultural productivity and climate-smart agriculture, successful country-specific solutions to WEE have focused on addressing the most binding constraints, or enhancing women’s participation in markets that they are already active in.
  • Some regulatory reforms and agricultural value chain interventions are found to have social empowerment benefits, and these benefits often seem to increase over time.
  • There is however also new evidence that economic development programmes have not always been effective in addressing binding constraints for women.
  • Recent research is inconclusive on the relationship between WEE and partner violence, but programmes can probably do more to reduce the risk of harm.
  • Most studies highlight the importance of context-specific research to inform programme design and results in measurement.

How to Integrate Gender & Women’s Economic Empowerment into Private Sector Development: An accompanying guide for policy-makers – DCED (2018)

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2018, DCED – 14 pages

This document is designed to give concise guidance on integrating WEE on the policy side. The focus of this guidance note will be on the policy cycle, providing support to policy-makers focused on the key tasks that they commonly undertake, namely:

  • Integrating WEE into PSD policy papers
  • Integrating WEE into Terms of Reference / Calls for Proposals
  • Assessing bidders/prospective grantees’ approaches to WEE
  • Contract management and oversight of WEE in ongoing programmes
  • Helping implementers to upgrade their approach to WEE mid-implementation
  • Building an evidence base for WEE and feeding back learnings into the policy cycle