Browse by Theme: Value Chains

Growing Together, a new report launched on 29 September by CARE, SABMiller, the Harvard Kennedy Corporate Responsibility Initiative and Business Fights Poverty, sets out why businesses should take a much more proactive and collaborative approach to supporting the micro-enterprises in their value chains, and provides practical support to doing so.

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The current UN High Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment is highlighting the major attention being paid by governments, the development community and others to the importance of women’s economic empowerment to tackling poverty and ensuring women achieve the target of gender equality which the world has agreed to as Sustainable Development Goal 5.

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Global value chains can be a powerful lever for empowering women, but companies must identify where women work, must develop a clear gender strategy and must articulate the business case for supporting women.

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Two recent CARE workshops have helped frame for me the resilience discussion that has come to dominate development discourse over the last five years. In fragile contexts, can we afford to be ambitious with our programming goals to encompass both gender transformative action and crisis adaptation? And more to the point, can we afford not to?

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Last month I visited Tigray, Northern Ethiopia, to interview farmers and livestock traders faced with the drought effects of one of the most devastating El Niños in 50 years. What are their coping strategies in the face of extreme weather patterns? How are those strategies linked to national and international market systems? And how, through these systems, can we bring about a better deal for those in the supply chain typically made more vulnerable by drought – namely, women?

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Megan Gaventa writes: As I took part in CARE’s recent roundtable discussion, ‘Invisible Women in Global Value Chains: A Missed Opportunity?’, I couldn’t help but feel that the event was timely. Not just because it was part of CARE’s 70th anniversary celebrations. The excitement surrounding the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals – and their standalone goal on gender equality and women’s empowerment – was still fresh in the mind. Recent weeks had also brought the under-representation of women in business, politics and other spheres into the spotlight, as Elle’s photoshopped images of world leaders reminded us how far there is to go.

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The private sector is a main actor involved in women’s economic empowerment in rural value chains: large traders, retailers or manufacturers often hold the keys to improving women’s access to extension services, financial services, input provision, market information and technology. They also have the negotiating power to help put gender equality on the agenda of producers’ associations and cooperatives.

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