Browse by Theme: Women's Economic Empowerment

On Friday 25 September, together with DFID and UN Women, CARE will bring together government, international organisations, business and civil society at the ‘Transforming Economies: Empowering Women and Girls’ event (during the UNGA summit to approve the new Sustainable Development Goals). Participants come in their roles as leaders, decision makers, and activists. On Friday hopefully they will also come as change makers.

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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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Village savings and loan associations (VSLAs) have been a powerful tool for enabling millions of women to access loans, set up small businesses and improve their quality of life. But as an evaluation of a CARE VSLA programme in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has shown, VSLAs can also be a platform for addressing the social norms that sustain gender inequality, and can therefore also contribute to the wider and more complex processes of women’s empowerment.

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The World Bank Group has been consulting on its plan to update its Gender Strategy. We decided to focus our response to the consultation largely on women’s economic empowerment as a critical component of women’s empowerment and gender equality, and within women’s economic empowerment, at financial inclusion.

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The Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa last week (13-16 July) got rather tepid and mixed reviews. Surprisingly, for a conference on financing, the outcome document contains very few numbers, and many NGOs are unhappy about the lack of funding commitments (including CARE), lack of a commitment to a new intergovernmental tax body, and a concern about the prominence of private financing (Oxfam, CAFOD, Christian Aid).

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Page updated 4 June 2015: read below the live updates from CARE’s European Development Day 2015 event in Brussels.

The event included an overview from facilitator Louise James (Global Programs Director, Accenture Development Partnerships), who introduced new research by CARE and Accenture which uncovers key trends in the role of banks in furthering financial inclusion in developing countries, with a particular emphasis on women living in poverty.

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The real challenge for the new Sustainable Development Goals is what happens after they are agreed. Deciding on the goals and targets is only the first step; backing them up with the commitment to implement them is crucial. The emerging consensus between the private sector, civil society, governments and multilateral agencies on the need for progress on economically empowering women is a positive sign. But how can business help make this ambition a reality?

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