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 economic empowerment (WEE) is one of four priority areas for CARE’s work, as set out in the CARE 2020 Programme Strategy. This report articulates why and how we work to drive women’s economic empowerment, our reach and impact to date and some lessons we have learned along the way.

Key findings:

  • Our reach is significant. In the 2016-17 financial year alone, CARE implemented almost 300 WEE projects in 60+ countries, indirectly reaching almost 18 million people and, at the mid-point of the CARE 2020 Program Strategy, CARE has contributed to the economic empowerment of nearly 4.5 million women.
  • We have had a significant impact on improving women’s capabilities but this alone is not enough to shift the power relations that are an obstacle to women’s economic empowerment.
  • We are building a better understanding of what works to increase women’s decision-making power but challenging persistent and deeply entrenched structural barriers takes time and requires partnerships with a range of actors.
  • We are generating more momentum behind creating an enabling environment on targeted issues, like the adoption of an ILO Convention to End Violence and Harassment at Work.
  • We are actively pursuing a number of exciting initiatives to scale up successful models, innovate to address gaps and influence the policies and practices of companies and governments to multiply our impact.

Download the full report (PDF)

Download the executive summary (PDF)

  • Countries: Global
  • Published: February 2019

Related Publications

Beyond economic empowerment: The influence of savings groups on women's public participation in fragile and (post) conflict-affected settings

Research shows that in addition to improving income and access to savings, women’s participation in savings groups also improves their confidence, skills and ability to influence household decision-making. This prompts the question: do these... Read more...

What works? Preventing & responding to sexual harassment in the workplace: A rapid review of evidence

The Enhancing Women’s Voice to Stop Sexual Harassment (STOP) project is working with the garment industry and government in the Mekong to design and implement workplace models and mechanisms for preventing and responding to sexual harassment.... Read more...

Made by Women: Impact Report 2019

The Made by Women strategy seeks to ensure women in the garment industry have access to decent jobs, are free from violence and harassment and can give voice to their rights at work. CARE has the ambitious goal of economically empowering 8... Read more...

Resilient Market Systems Standards: A compendium for practitioners

By 2030, the number of people living in poverty in fragile settings could rise to 620 million, or more than 80% of the world’s poorest people. CARE’s Resilient Market System work aims to make crisis-affected market systems more resilient,... Read more...

COVID-19 could condemn women to decades of poverty: Implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on women’s and girls’ economic justice and rights

COVID-19 has become an unprecedented and unpredictable global crisis. It is “a defining moment in human history”.  COVID-19 has affected everyone, but not equally so. The pandemic is exploiting and exposing deep structural inequalities... Read more...

Are VSLA feminist platforms for gender transformation?

This paper provides findings and recommendations about how Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) can be a platform to challenge patriarchal structures that discriminate against and normalise violence against women and... Read more...

Women on the Move Annual Report 2019

When women are able to come together in safe spaces, they can use their collective power and voice to bring about change for a more equitable world. Women on the Move (WOM) is a CARE regional strategy launched in 2016 that mobilises savings... Read more...

Social Movements Power Tool

Social movements are a critical vehicle for change around the world, including in many countries where CARE operates. This Power Tool provides guidance on how CARE (and others) can engage in strategic partnerships with social movement actors. It... Read more...

Curiosity Collective: Evidence of social changes for women in savings groups

CARE has been working with Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLA) since we first launched the model in Niger in 1991. Over the years, VSLAs have reached more 7.6 million members, 81% of them women. The economic impacts of the VSLA groups... Read more...