This page offers information on how to implement private sector development (PSD) programmes in gender-sensitive ways, and to promote women’s economic empowerment (WEE) – which is now recognised as one of the major driving forces of global economic growth and well-being.
At a glance: Short reads on Women’s Economic Empowerment
- DCED Synthesis Note: Women’s Economic Empowerment – What do we know?, March 2019.
- DCED Research & Evidence update on Women’s Economic Empowerment, August 2019. It finds that:
- 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 (e.g. sustainability standards) 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 doing harm.
DCED members have formed a Women’s Economic Empowerment Working Group (WEE WG) to share experiences and develop guidelines on effective practice. The theme has also been addressed by the DCED Business Environment and Results Measurement Working Groups. All DCED publications on WEE are listed below.
- On the Move: Women’s Economic Empowerment in Contexts of Migration and Forced Displacement, DCED, 2019. This scoping study documents the state of practice of WEE in the context of migration and forced displacement, identifies relevant gaps in current knowledge and recommends potential PSD initiatives in the field.
- Policy brief: Women’s Economic Empowerment in Contexts of Migration and Forced Displacement, DCED, 2019: Brief summarising the above document, particularly addressing the need and opportunity for gender-responsive economic programming in migration and displacement settings.
- How to Integrate Gender and Women’s Economic Empowerment into PSD Programmes, DCED, 2017: This is the ‘go-to’ document for proven guidance on integrating gender and WEE into the project cycle of PSD programmes: design, implementation, results measurement. It categorises three levels of ambition: basic, intermediate and advanced:
- How to integrate gender & women’s economic empowerment into private sector development: An accompanying guide for policy-makers, DCED, 2018. This short report gives a concise overview of the above document, focusing particularly on how policy-makers can integrate WEE into each part of the policy cycle.
- Gender-Sensitive Business Environment Reform: Why does it matter? – A policy guide, DCED, 2017. Gives an introductory overview of the importance and ‘how to’ of gender-sensitive business environment reform.
- Case Studies (2017): Advancing Women’s Financial Inclusion through Gender-Sensitive BER and Gender-Sensitive BER and Informality
- Business Environment Reform and Gender, Technical paper, DCED, 2016. A thorough review of how business environment factors affect women and how donor programmes can address them.
- Market Systems Development: How to put Gender and WEE into practice in M4P, Helen Bradbury, DCED, 2016: Very practical summary of the systems and tools ALCP Georgia is using to integrate gender and WEE into its M4P approach.
- Results Measurement: Measuring Women’s Economic Empowerment in PSD: Guidelines for Practitioners, DCED, 2014. Explains how to integrate WEE dimensions into the good practice elements of the DCED Standard for Results Measurement. Includes two case studies.
Key Overview Documents
- Empowering women entrepreneurs in developing countries: Why current programs fall short. Eyerusalem Siba, Brookings, 2019. Reviews current evidence for the effectiveness of WEE interventions for female entrepreneurs.
- Women’s Economic Empowerment and Inclusive Growth: Labour Markets and Enterprise Development, GrOW Research Series, 2017. This literature review summarises key information on the concept of women’s economic empowerment and some of the empirical literature on labour market barriers for WEE.
- Enhancing the productivity of women-owned enterprises: The evidence on what works, IDRC, 2016. This paper summarises evidence on what types of private sector development interventions have helped in increasing productivity of women-owned enterprises, including regulatory reform, training and building market linkages.
- Revisiting what works: Women, Economic Empowerment and Smart Design, Center for Global Development, 2016: Based on a review of evidence, this report ranks different types of WEE interventions as proven, promising, high potential or unproven.
- Effectiveness of Entrepreneurship Interventions for Women Entrepreneurs, ILO, 2014. This issue brief reviews robust evidence on the effectiveness of entrepeneurship interventions for women entrepreneurs.
- Promoting Women’s Economic Empowerment: What Works?, World Bank 2014. This paper reviews evaluations of programmes that sought to empower women economically.
Making the economic and business case for WEE
- Working with the Private Sector to Empower Women: What to Measure and How to Build the Business Case for Change, AWEF, 2019.
- Moving Toward Gender Balance in Private Equity and Venture Capital, IFC, 2019.
- Gender Equality Mainstreaming for Business Growth and Impact: A Step-by-Step Manual for Investors and Capacity Builders, MEDA/USAID, 2018.
- Investing in women: new evidence for the business case. IFC, 2017.
- Women’s Economic Empowerment in Sub-Saharan Africa – Recommendations for Business Action, BSR, 2017.
- Making the business case: Women’s economic empowerment in market systems development, USAID 2015.
Constraints and Opportunities for WEE in different sectors and countries
- USAID Women’s Economic Empowerment and Equality (W3) Dashboard, 2018: Interactive tool compiling country-specific data on women’s economic, social, and political inclusion
- Driving toward equality: women, ride-hailing, and the sharing economy, IFC, 2018.
- Women’s pathways to the digital sector: Stories of Challenges and Opportunities. GIZ, 2017.
- Gender analysis of labour market outcomes in Sub-Saharan Africa: Recent Evidence from Cameroon and Mali, UN Women, 2017.
- Gender Roles and Opportunities for Women in Urban Environments, GSDRC, January 2016.
- Women working worldwide: A situational analysis of women migrant workers, UN Women, 2016.
- Promoting Women’s Economic Empowerment in Cambodia, ADB, 2015 (focuses on women’s participation in economic transformation).
- The cost of the gender gap in agricultural productivity in Malawi, Tanzania, and Uganda, World Bank, 2015.
- Will women in low-income countries get lost in transformation? ODI, 2016
Integrating gender and WEE in different PSD approaches
For possible consultants, see the BMZ/GIZ Gender Knowledge Platform Consultants Pool.
- Women’s wage employment in developing countries: Regulatory barriers and opportunities. USAID, 2018.
- Women, Business and the Law 2018, World Bank, 2018.
- Gender-Sensitive Business Environment Reform: Why does it matter? – A policy guide, DCED BEWG, 2017.
- Case Study: Advancing Women’s Financial Inclusion through Gender-Sensitive BER, DCED BEWG, 2017.
- Case Study: Gender-Sensitive BER and Informality, DCED BEWG, 2017.
- Scoping Study on Customary Law and Women’s Entrepreneurship, BERF, 2017.
- Scoping Study on Gender Differences in Enterprise Surveys, BERF 2017.
- Business Environment Reform and Women’s Economic Empowerment in Afghanistan, BERF, 2017.
- Gender and Business Environment Reform in Bangladesh, BERF, 2017.
- Business Environment Reform and Gender, Technical paper, DCED BEWG 2016.
- World Bank Group, Women, Business and the Law (database of indicators of WED-related regulations by country)
WEE and Market Systems Development
- How to put Gender and WEE into practice in M4P – The Alliances Programme in Georgia, Helen Bradbury, DCED WEEWG, 2016.
- Women’s Empowerment and Market Systems (WEAMS) Framework, BEAM Exchange, 2016
- Mainstreaming WEE in Market Systems Development, SDC, 2016.
- Understanding unpaid care work to empower women in market systems approaches, BEAM Exchange, 2016.
- How Women Contribute to and Benefit from Growth. Integrating Women’s Economic Empowerment into the MDF approach, Market Development Facility, 2015.
- Women’s Economic Empowerment: Pushing the Frontiers of Inclusive Market Development, USAID, 2014.
- Gender and ICTs – Mainstreaming gender in the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) for agriculture and rural development, FAO, 2018.
- Growing micro-enterprises: How gender and family can impact outcomes – evidence from Uganda, ILO, 2017.
- How to grow women-owned businesses: policy brief. IDRC, 2017.
- Incubate, Invest, Impact. Building and Investing in High-Impact Enterprises for Empowering Women and Girls, GIZ, 2014.
- The challenge fund aid modality: Assessing the potential for tackling gender challenges in development, UNU WIDER, 2013.
- Supporting Growth-Oriented Women Entrepreneurs: A Review of the Evidence and Key Challenges, The World Bank Group, 2014.
- Empowering Women Entrepreneurs through Information and Communication Technologies – A Practical Guide, UNCTAD, 2014.
Preventing and responding to gender-based violence
Note that the DCED’s research update on WEE (2017) includes some original studies on the links between women’s economic empowerment and increase or decrease of partner violence.
- Engaging and working with men: Program insights and key considerations for the agricultural sector, USAID, 2016.
- Toolkit for Integrating Gender-Based Violence Prevention and Response into Economic Growth Projects, USAID, 2014.
- Guidance for Gender Based Violence (GBV) Monitoring and Mitigation within Non-GBV Focused Sectoral Programming, Care, 2014.
Measuring Gender and WEE Results in PSD
- Beyond Income: A Critical Analysis of Agency Measurement in Economic Programming, MDF, 2018
- Understanding and measuring WEE: Definition, framework and indicators, ICRW, 2018
- Launching a practical guide to measuring women’s and girls’ empowerment, JPAL, 2018.
- How to measure women’s empowerment so that it reflects the views and opinions of all women interviewed in a study, Oxfam, 2018.
- Grappling with the Challenges of Measuring Women’s Economic Empowerment, GROW, 2017.
- Synthesis Document: How to Integrate Gender and Women’s Economic Empowerment into Private Sector Development Programmes, DCED WEEWG, 2017.
- A ‘How To’ Guide to Measuring Women’s Empowerment. Sharing experience from Oxfam’s impact evaluations, Oxfam, 2017.
- Measuring Gendered Impact in Private Sector Development: Technical Reflections and Guidance for Programmes, Adam Smith International, 2016.
- Rapid Qualitative Assessment Tool for Understanding Women’s Economic Empowerment Results, DCED, 2016. Click here for a Word version of the questionnaire.
- Measuring Women’s Economic Empowerment in PSD: Guidelines for Practitioners, RMWG DCED, 2014. (Click here for a webinar on the guidelines. For a short overview document, click here.)
PSD programme case studies highlighting impacts across different empowerment dimensions
- What can be Achieved in Women’s Economic Empowerment? Early lessons and examples from operationalising a Women’s Economic Empowerment framework in a multi-country context, MDF, 2017.
- Women’s Economic Empowerment in Technical Assistance Programmes: Examples of good practice in PSD, GIZ, 2016.
- How inclusive is inclusive business for women? Endeva, 2016
- Women’s Empowerment and Socio-Economic Outcomes: Impacts of the Andhra Pradesh Rural Poverty Reduction Programme, The World Bank, 2014.
- Can dairy value-chain projects change gender norms in rural Bangladesh? Impacts on assets, gender norms, and time use, IFPRI, 2013.
- How Do Intra-household Dynamics Change When Assets Are Transferred to Women? Evidence from BRAC’s “Targeting the Ultra Poor” Program in Bangladesh, IFPRI and ILRI, 2013.