Browse by Theme: Women's Economic Empowerment

Financial inclusion has been a key part of CARE’s work for over 20 years. We’ve learned from an enormous number of programmes in dozens of countries that giving women access to savings is an essential first step in their economic empowerment. The next step is accessing formal financial services – a win-win that banks the unbanked while opening up new markets and providing new customers for banks. But are banks making the most of this opportunity?

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Post-war Sri Lanka (since 2009) has much to offer tourists, and the country is relying on the hospitality and tourism sector to drive up economic gains and create a positive ripple effect on related social factors – such as meeting the employment needs of several million young Sri Lankans on the look-out to secure a job. But why is it that so many women in the sector are not being supported in their careers – and why, in some cases, is it so hard for women to even enter the workforce?

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Many of us dream of a world free from poverty, but how can this be realistically achieved, especially for smallholder farmers who make up the majority of the world’s poor?

One important answer to this question is found in our new book, Making markets more inclusive: Lessons from CARE and the future of sustainability in agricultural value chain development. In it, we highlight lessons from one of the most intensely developed agricultural value chain initiatives in the world: CARE’s work in the dairy value chain in northwest Bangladesh.

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Ten years ago on Boxing Day, the Indian Ocean tsunamis crashed into the shorelines of 14 countries, killing more than 228,000 people and making almost two million more people homeless and bereaved. The scale of the disaster and the speed with which entire towns and communities were swept away was something the modern world had never seen before. This was to change the way we prepare for and respond to crises forever.

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The Trust Women conference (on 18-19 November) was fundamentally about women’s rights. You can’t talk of rights without talking of financial services because this encompasses so much else. Why are women not accessing education? Why do women not have access to banks? Why are women being discriminated against?

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I have written before about ‘cross-sector’ collaboration and partnerships. About forging alliances with shared objectives where the private, public and NGO sectors can work together, realising mutually beneficial outcomes. We often talk about the combined ‘power’ of all these actors – but how do we put the ‘power’ in ‘empowerment’ into the hands of women on the frontline of overcoming gender inequality?

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CARE International’s approach to SME development includes access to finance as an important element. But we also believe that it is essential to adopt a systemic view of the market system and of the socio-economic situation of the individuals and communities with whom we work.

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