Tell me something about women’s economic empowerment?
Women’s economic empowerment is a prerequisite for sustainable development, pro-poor growth and the achievement of all the MDGs. At the same time it is about rights and equitable societies. There is scope for increasing donor investments in women’s economic empowerment. Achieving women’s economic empowerment is not a “quick fix”. It will take sound public policies, a holistic approach and long-term commitment from all development actors. Start with women by integrating gender-specific perspectives at the design stage of policy and programming.
Economic empowerment is the capacity of women and men to participate in, contribute to and benefit from growth processes in ways which recognise the value of their contributions, respect their dignity and make it possible to negotiate a fairer distribution of the benefits of growth. Economic empowerment increases women’s access to economic resources and opportunities including jobs, financial services, property and other productive assets, skills development and market information.
The economic empowerment of women is a prerequisite for sustainable development, pro-poor growth and the achievement of all the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Gender equality and empowered women are catalysts for multiplying development efforts. Investments in gender equality yield the highest returns of all development investments. Women usually invest a higher proportion of their earnings in their families and communities than men.
Women’s economic participation and empowerment are fundamental to strengthening women’s rights and enabling women to have control over their lives and exert influence in society.2 It is about creating just and equitable societies. Women often face discrimination and persistent gender inequalities, with some women experiencing multiple discrimination and exclusion because of factors such as ethnicity or caste.
Increasing the role of women in the economy is part of the solution to the financial and economic crises and critical for economic resilience and growth. However, at the same time, we need to be mindful that women are in some contexts bearing the costs of recovering from the crisis, with the loss of jobs, poor working conditions and increasing precariousness.