In Depth
Work and Opportunities for Women

Work and Opportunities for Women

Work and Opportunities for Women (WOW), an innovative programme funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), aims to enhance the economic empowerment of 300,000 women working in global value chains by 2022.

Business, as the engine of the global economy, has an important role to play in achieving this goal. The WOW consortium - an alliance of global experts, including PwC, BSR, CARE International, University of Manchester, and Social Development Direct - will establish 10 business partnerships/initiatives that will enable dignified, equal, and economically empowering work for women. WOW will also support civil society organisations to tackle a small number of key issues affecting women’s opportunities in global value chains.

This report and discussion document are the first in a series of WOW research publications aimed at improving understanding of women’s economic empowerment and catalysing action to address key issues that are barriers to women around the world.

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Four good reasons for engaging with DFID’s Work and Opportunities for Women programme – blog by Gerry Boyle, Senior Policy Advisor on women’s economic empowerment

CARE examine the importance of gender equity in business – why CARE are hosting the gender equity zone at Business Fights Poverty’s 2018 conference

Empower a woman and a whole cocoa community will thrive – how the Mondelēz International, Cocoa Life programme is promoting women’s empowerment in their supply chains

How business can tackle social norms which hold back women’s economic empowerment – Insights blog by Claudia Canepa, coordinator of Oxfam's Knowledge Hub on women's economic empowerment in agriculture

Empowering women in the economy: The private sector is an essential partner - Cindy Drakeman, lead author of the UN High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment report, discusses the power business has to bring about transformative change

UN report on women’s economic empowerment: The right thing – and the smart thing – to do - Senior Policy and Advocacy Advisor Fiona Jarden's take on the first report by the UN Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment.

Blogs See all

COVID-19 and the garment industry: Protect workers, transform the industry
The garment industry employs 60 million workers around the world, nearly 75% of whom are women. The International Labour Organization has estimated that nearly 25 million jobs could be lost…
CEO Agenda 2019: An ambitious vision lacking commitment or detail
The CEO Agenda 2019 was launched at DAVOS by a number of leading fashion brands, with support from Global Fashion Agenda. It’s good to see major brands trying to tackle…
How tea communities in Sri Lanka collaborate to achieve social and business benefits
In a politically volatile environment, CARE is working to implement Community Development Forums (CDF) in tea estates in Sri Lanka. The CDFs are delivered in partnership with the tea workers,…
How can your business unlock the potential within your value chain?
CARE and Diageo have conducted an in-depth gender analysis of Diageo’s barley supply chain in Oromia region, Ethiopia. We have been working together in a global partnership since 2016 and…

Publications See all

CARE International Women’s Economic Empowerment Impact Report 2018
Women still have fewer economic rights, less access to economic opportunities and less control over economic resources than men due to a range of social, legal and political inequalities. Women’s…
Women in barley farming: A gender analysis of the Diageo barley value chain in Ethiopia - Executive Summary
A summary of the in-depth gender analysis conducted by CARE of Diageo’s barley value chain in the Oromia region in Ethiopia.
Women in barley farming: A gender analysis of the Diageo barley value chain in Ethiopia
CARE International and Diageo have been working together in a global partnership since 2016, empowering women and engaging men to address the root causes of gender inequality throughout the Diageo value chain and beyond.…
Resilient markets: Strengthening women’s economic empowerment and market systems in fragile settings
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, and women, who face greater…


WOW Fund launch webinar

You might also be interested in

How to move beyond crude gender targets to genuine empowerment – Sharmin Ahmed (BEAM Exchange) lays out three rules for meaningful gender mainstreaming in market system development activities

Gender and Development Network written submission to the IDC inquiry on DFID’s Economic Development Strategy – GADN women's economic justice working group’s submission highlights the structural barriers for women, which the strategy should take into account if it is to deliver on its commitments

Cocoa and the global goals: accelerating women’s empowerment - Ulrike Joras (Oxfam) and Gaël Lescornec ‘s (World Cocoa Foundation) blog on how business can build gender equality into supply chains. They offer lessons learned from the cocoa industry and introduce a new shared initiative

Global Business Coalition for women’s economic empowerment – Linda Scott (University of Oxford) describes the formation and work of the coalition

The changing landscape in women’s economic empowerment - Linda Scott on the discussion she had with Priya Basu (Head of the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative) and Rachel Vogelstein (director of CFR’s Women and Foreign Policy Program) on innovations currently emerging in women’s economic empowerment

Critical junctures and the redistribution of care work – Martin Walsh (Oxfam) reflects on how project interventions can change unequal gender contributions to care work

Resources and links

WOW website hosted by Department for International Development and WOW Twitter account

WOW Helpdesk Evidence Digest - provides rapid, flexible, tailored and specialist analysis, guidance and ‘know-how’ to support UK government staff in addressing WEE in policy and programming.

Modern slavery and women’s economic empowerment discussion document – Gerry Boyle and Lauren Shields put forward ideas on how increasing the economic empowerment of women in value chains can reduce the risk of modern slavery

Women workers in global value chains - WOW research briefing no.1 - document provides an overview of WOW research by Stephanie Barrientos (University of Manchester) and Charlotte Pallangyo (WG Inclusive)

Women's Economic Empowerment through responsible Business Conduct in G7 Countries – booklet providing information on the WE EMPOWER programme and its priority areas, as well as insights into the efforts of 15 G7-headquartered companies to promote gender equality and women’s economic empowerment

CDC gender equality position statement – sets out the gender strategy for CDC’s investment activity

Private sector engagement with women’s economic empowerment: Lessons learned from years of practice – report by Linda Scott on the learning of nine companies engaged in women’s economic empowerment programmes around the world

UN High-Level Panel on women’s economic empowerment – reports and toolkits from the panel

KnowTheChain - resource for companies and investors to understand and address forced labour risks within their global supply chains

Freedom Fund – organisation who identify and invest in the most effective frontline efforts to eradicate modern slavery in the countries and sectors where it is most prevalent