1. Enhance the economic empowerment of 300,000 women working in global value chains
The world increasingly works through global value chains, which link firms across all stages of production, distribution and retail. OECD, WTO and UNCTAD estimate that approximately 70% of world trade now passes through global value chains. Global value chains therefore can be a powerful lever for change and companies which play key roles, such as retailers and brand owners in the global North, must look closely at how the value chain engages with women.
WOW is designed to work with ten companies to look at key women’s economic empowerment issues in their value chains from women’s leadership to unpaid care – the actual elements will be developed in partnership with the companies. The programme has objectives to show how change can work at scale, how changes can be made systemic and to push the envelope on some important issues.
The programme will publish regular learning materials highlighting lessons derived from the WOW alliance’s WEE experience, research by the programme, and the results of projects being run with companies. The first such document has recently been published as a draft, to support a discussion in September between companies and modern slavery and WEE experts.
2. Partner with business to improve data and transparency on women’s work in value chains
As I argued some time ago, while there is recognition that women play important roles in many segments of global value chains, there is little knowledge of what those roles are and how they can be made more productive and valuable for women. WOW will help to tackle this via research into the role of women in global value chains and company’s specific value chains by working closely with the companies and particularly products and commodities in specific countries. This strand of the programme will publish reports on global value chains, company-specific value chains and particular products/commodities in particular countries.
3. Work with DFID economic development programmes to increase the numbers of women beneficiaries
DFID have made a significant commitment to supporting economic development in its partner countries, and equally a strong commitment to gender equality. These two strands come together under women’s economic empowerment and WOW is committed to providing DFID and other government departments with expert input for policy and programme formulation and execution. This will be via a Help Desk and proactive guidance on important themes within women’s economic empowerment. A flavour of these can be found in the first of the regular WOW evidence digests.
4. Support civil society initiatives to sustain the momentum created by the UN High-Level panel
Recognising the important role of civil society in achieving catalytic impact and/or global learning on topics, which will sustain the UNHLP’s momentum, there is a WOW Fund, which will focus its support on 3 priority areas:
- recognising, reducing and redistributing unpaid care and domestic work
- improving outcomes for women in informal work
- enhancing women’s land tenure security
CARE is delighted to be working in such an ambitious programme on women’s economic empowerment: one that reaches across company policy and practice, research, DFID’s internal processes and policies, and civil society. We’ll be continuing to feature progress on the programme in our upcoming CARE Insights In-Depth feature on WOW, and we hope that you will return to access some of the insights and learning that will be created over the next few years.