Overview of the Women’s Economic Empowerment Working Group


Private sector development represents a powerful way to address gender inequalities and empower women both economically and socially.  At the same time, engaging women in productive employment can have economy-wide benefits.

The Women’s Economic Empowerment Working Group aims to harness knowledge and experience among DCED member agencies and PSD practitioners on how to integrate gender and WEE considerations more strategically and effectively into their work. Ultimately, it seeks to enhance the economic development and poverty reduction impact of PSD programmes by helping to increase their knowledge, capacity and incentives to address relevant constraints and needs of both women and men equally.

Key achievements

In 2017, the WEE WG published a Synthesis Document on How to Integrate Gender and WEE into PSD Programmes. It is structured around the DCED Standard for Results Measurement, and links to proven guidance. The document points to ‘minimum’ activities that all programmes should aim for, and additional elements they can work towards to become more effective in achieving pro-poor benefits for women and men alike. It builds on the 2014 Guidelines on measuring WEE in PSD which in turn built on the 2013 literature review of household-level indicators and impacts of women’s economic empowerment.

In 2016, the group also published a paper by Helen Bradbury (ALCP Georgia) summarising her experience of managing a programme that integrates gender issues and M4P throughout the project cycle – How to put Gender and WEE into practice in M4P – A Description of the Ethos, Systems and Tools used in the Alliances Programme in Georgia.

In 2012, the Group published a scoping study of donors’ and development agencies’ activities and approaches in the WED field.

Ongoing work

As per the WEEWG Work Plan for 2019-2020, members are:

  • Identifying current WEE programmes and examples addressing unpaid care work.
  • Exploring the possibilities to better include WEE in green growth projects and vice-versa.
  • Organising a series of webinars, including the three featured below.

Profiting from Parity: Unlocking the Potential of Women’s Businesses in Africa, presented by Francisco Campos (Africa Gender Innovation Lab, World Bank), November 2019.

What Do Men Have to Do with WEE? Lessons and Challenges, presented by Gary Barker (Promundo), January 2020.

Transformative Approaches to WEE in Practice: Case studies from Africa, presented by Kerry Selvester (MUVA), Charleine Mbuyi-Lusamba and Adriana Sierra (Women’s Entrepreneurship Development Programme/ILO), and Hania Elkady (Econowin/GIZ), March 2020.

Recent publications

More information