Browse by Theme: Women's Economic Empowerment

Since starting an internship at CARE International UK in the Policy and Advocacy team, I’ve had the chance to support research on women’s economic empowerment programmes, with a specific focus on the ready-made garment sector in South East Asia. CARE’s broader role in training value chain workers in partnership with companies like Mondelez, establishing savings groups with women, and committing to a Dignified Work agenda, is crucial to tackling widespread injustice in global value chains across all industries. Researching ready-made garment value chains specifically has led me to re-evaluate some of my own shopping habits, and shown me that change has to come from consumers.

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This week CARE launches its newest paper on women’s economic empowerment in fragile settings and I’ll be laying out the key points in a presentation online and in person (Thursday 8 December, 12-2pm). Here is a preview of what I’ll be saying.

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Functioning market systems and a responsible and responsive private sector are critical to livelihoods, autonomy and well-being. However they are both heavily impacted by crisis, including war.

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Women are very important stakeholders for the whole cocoa industry – not just as customers and consumers, but also because of their roles as cocoa producers. Although cocoa is seen as a “male crop” in most of the producing countries, women have a key role in activities that are critical for the volume and quality of the production. Nevertheless, the “invisibility” of women has serious consequences for their access to technical training and productive resources in general, which is unjust and also represents a huge inefficiency in business terms.

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CARE’s strategy on Women’ s Economic Empowerment includes a commitment to Dignified Work. Many of those who work on workers’ rights might question what we mean – how does this compare to the well-established notion of Decent Work, as exemplified by the ILO’s Decent Work agenda? How is Dignified Work different from Decent Work?

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We often talk about providing people with skills, knowledge and tools so they can improve their lives – but sometimes the impact is hard to quantify. So how does the fact that more than 90% of women’s businesses grew over the course of the Skilling for Change programme sound?

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Thursday 22nd September at the United Nations General Assembly was a tremendous moment for the global women’s economic empowerment agenda. Not only did Ban Ki Moon become the first Secretary General to declare himself a feminist (for which he received a rousing standing ovation), it was also the launch of the first report by the UN Secretary General’s High Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment.

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