Gender

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  • Women’s Financial Inclusion Toolkit
    Paving the way for women's economic empowerment

    Lisa Peterlechner

    ABSTRACT

    Financial inclusion is a catalyst towards growth and opportunity. It is therefore not surprising that it features as a target in eight of the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals. It is associated with reducing poverty, increasing resilience, and improving economic growth, innovation, and family well-being. Beyond supporting these overarching goals, women’s financial inclusion crucially also contributes to women’s economic empowerment and gender equality. ​The purpose of this toolkit is to help practitioners working in developing countries advance women’s financial inclusion and navigate the existing barriers. The toolkit first provides you with an overview of women’s financial inclusion, its importance and benefits. Delving into project scoping, design, implementation, and measurement, it gathers tools, guidance, and project ideas. Lastly, it contains seven detailed case studies from various countries with different challenges, target groups, and activities. 

    CITATION

    Peterlechner, L., 2021. "Women’s Financial Inclusion Toolkit Paving the way for women's economic empowerment." Bonn and Eschborn: GIZ.

    Operational Guides
    ORGANIZATION
    GIZ
  • Women’s economic empowerment in the face of Covid-19 and displacement: restoring resilient futures

    Clingain, Clare, Daphne Jayasinghe, Abigail Hunt, Amanda Gray Meral

    ABSTRACT

    The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the lives and livelihoods of women globally. Women affected by crisis and displacement have been hit by a ‘triple disadvantage’ of Covid-19, displacement and gender discrimination. Our findings from research in Jordan, Greece and Nigeria show clear gender differences in the ability to earn an income, be employed in salaried formal work and take on responsibility for unpaid care work throughout the pandemic, with women hit hardest. Key barriers to economic opportunities include restrictions on freedom of movement and access to financial services, formal employment and social protection. Despite this ‘triple disadvantage’, the specific challenges facing women affected by crisis and displacement are rarely a policy focus. In particular, our research highlights that an over-emphasis in policy on supporting women-led businesses and women’s entrepreneurship in stable settings risks neglecting the most marginalised women in countries affected by crisis and displacement. We argue that there is inadequate policy attention to displaced women’s labour market access, inclusive social protection and social norm change to address stigma and discrimination. Restoring resilient futures for women in crisis and displacement settings relies on multi-stakeholder action and inclusive economies. The Covid-19 global recovery presents an opportunity for renewed attention to a comprehensive and inclusive approach to women’s economic empowerment, rebuilding economies by prioritising the right to safe and decent economic opportunities, financial services, social networks, social protection, redistributed unpaid care and laws supporting refugee inclusion and gender equality. This report, from ODI and the International Rescue Committee (IRC), is based on in-depth surveys conducted with 725 IRC clients in Greece, Jordan and Nigeria, as well as analysis of relevant policy and financing initiatives. It aims to better understand the economic impact of Covid-19 on women affected by displacement, before making policy recommendations to support their economic empowerment.

    CITATION

    Clingain, Clare, Daphne Jayasinghe, Abigail Hunt, Amanda Gray Meral. 2021. Women’s economic empowerment in the face of Covid-19 and displacement: restoring resilient futures. HPG commissioned report. London: ODI.

    Reports
    ORGANIZATION
    Overseas Development Institute
  • Policies and Practices to Enhance the Gender Transformative Potential of Multi-faceted Social Protection Programs

    Anoushka Bhari and Sonia Laszlo

    ABSTRACT

    This scoping paper documents current practices used by Graduation Program practitioners to produce meaningful and sustainable improvements in women’s wellbeing. To do so, it builds on the theory of change in Rao and Kelleher (2005) and adapted by Hillenbrand (2015) and identify practices that affect change along two dimensions: from individual to community levels and from the formal to the informal. We document a number of ways in which such programs attempt to affect change beyond the more traditional aims of alleviating resource and liquidity constraints. Indeed, organizations are increasingly concerned with improving women non- economic outcomes by incorporating empowerment components in their programming and by engaging men and boys in the household and the community. These efforts are in recognition of the need to challenge traditional gender norms to maximize the potential and sustainability of anti-poverty initiatives.

    CITATION

    Bhari, Anoushka and Sonia Laszlo. 2020. Policies and Practices to Enhance the Gender Transformative Potential of Multi-faceted Social Protection Programs. Fundación Capital.

    Operational Guides
    ORGANIZATION
    Fundación Capital
  • Randomized Control Trials and Qualitative Evaluations of a Multifaceted Programme for Women in Extreme Poverty: Empirical Findings and Methodological Reflections

    Naila Kabeer

    ABSTRACT

    This paper sets out to synthesize key lessons from studies using alternative methodologies to impact assessment. Drawing on Sen’s capability approach as a conceptual framework, it analyses two pairs of impact assessments which were carried out in West Bengal and Sindh around the same time and within close proximity to each other. Each pair consisted of a randomized control trial and a qualitative assessment of attempts to pilot BRAC’s approach to transferring assets to women in extreme poverty. The paper reports on the findings of these studies, their strategies for establishing their claims about causality and the information base they drew on to establish these claims. It finds that not only did the RCTs fail to meet their own criteria for establishing causality, but they also provided very limited explanation for the patterns of outcomes observed. Such information formed the substance of the qualitative studies. The paper concludes that greater use of mixed methods could help to offset some of limitations of RCTs and to place their findings on much firmer ground.

    CITATION

    Kabeer, Naila. 2019. "Randomized Control Trials and Qualitative Evaluations of a Multifaceted Programme for Women in Extreme Poverty: Empirical Findings and Methodological Reflections"

    Journal Articles
  • Women’s Economic Empowerment through Financial Inclusion: A Review of Existing Evidence and Remaining Knowledge Gaps

    Kyle Holloway, Zahra Niazi, and Rebecca Rouse

    ABSTRACT

    While there is a growing body of evidence surrounding the impact of financial inclusion and the importance of product design in achieving desired welfare impact outcomes, there remains much to learn about the ways in which formal financial products and services can contribute to women’s economic empowerment. This review finds that, overall, financial service providers and other stakeholders can leverage appropriate product design features to overcome some of these barriers to women’s financial inclusion. Even so, broader social constraints related to intra-household bargaining power and the social status of women may continue to limit the broader impact of financial inclusion on women’s economic empowerment. There is a need for further evidence on effective product-led strategies to address these barriers and improve economic empowerment outcomes for women. The paper is organized by product and presents the existing evidence on the impact of savings, credit, payments, and insurance products on women’s economic empowerment outcomes, as well as the remaining open research questions in each area. The studies included in this review are limited to those designed as randomized control trials (RCTs), widely considered to be the gold standard in impact evaluation methodology.

    CITATION

    Holloway, K., Z. Niazi, and R. Rouse. 2017. Women’s Economic Empowerment through Financial Inclusion: A Review of Existing Evidence and Remaining Knowledge Gaps. New Haven: Innovations for Poverty Action.

    Briefs
    ORGANIZATION
    Innovations for Poverty Action
  • Research on Rural Women’s Economic Empowerment and Social Protection. The Impacts of Rwanda’s Vision 2020 Umurenge Programme (VUP)

    Sara Pavanello, Pamela Pozarny, Ana Paula De la O Campos, and Nynne Warring

    ABSTRACT

    The present report summarizes findings of the first PtoP case study on rural women’s economic empowerment and focuses on the public works component of Rwanda’s Vision 2020 Umurenge Programme (VUP) – the Government of Rwanda’s flagship programme for poverty reduction providing countrywide social protection. The research was based on a mixed method approach comprising in-depth qualitative methods and quantitative surveys conducted in Rwanda during the autumn of 2014.

    CITATION

    Pavanello, Sara, Pamela Pozarny, Ana Paula de la O Campos, and Nynne Warring. 2018. Research on Rural Women’s Economic Empowerment and Social Protection: The Impacts of Rwanda’s Vision 2020 Umurenge Programme (VUP). Rome: FAO.

    Reports
    ORGANIZATION
    FAO
  • Building Women’s Economic and Social Empowerment

    Jeannie Annan, Christopher Blattman, Eric Green, Julian Jamison

    ABSTRACT

    Investing in women is said to be a key to development. In this view, providing education, a cow, or the ingredients for a business will result in great things: increases in income, empowerment, social inclusion, and improved mental health. In this study, IPA researchers studied whether the most vulnerable women could start and sustain small businesses. They evaluated a program by AVSI Uganda, the Women’s INcome Generating Support (WINGS) program. WINGS offered extremely poor people basic business skills training, ongoing mentorship, and cash grants with a purchasing power of $375. The message: the poorest women have high returns to cash, training and supervision. Not only can cash-centered programs help the poorest start and sustain microenterprises, but they do so cost-effectively. Moving ahead, there are ways to improve cost-effectiveness, and programs should note that higher incomes alone may not address women’s social and personal challenges.

    CITATION

    Annan, Jeannie, Christopher Blattman, Eric Green, Julian Jamison. 2015. "Building Women’s Economic and Social Empowerment". Policy Brief. New Haven: Innovations for Poverty Action.

    Briefs
    ORGANIZATION
    Innovations for Poverty Action
  • Confidence, Capacity Building and Cash: Achieving Sustained Impact for Ultra-poor Women

    McIlvaine, Kassie, Corey Oser, Julianna Lindsey and Maia Blume

    ABSTRACT

    Understanding poverty and how to measure and eradicate it has evolved over the last 20 years to incorporate a multidimensional focus. The experience of Women for Women International (WfWI), a US- based non-profit organisation that works with women survivors of war in eight countries, shows that while economic inputs are crucial for moving above the US$1.25/day poverty line, a more holistic approach is needed for ultra-poor women in conflict-affected situations to achieve this goal. This article analyses WfWI’s 12-month social protection training and cash transfer programme for ultra-poor labour-constrained women in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The programme helps women obtain skills and resources to graduate from poverty and promote overall wellbeing for their families and communities. We first provide background on social protection programmes in conflict settings, then outline data collection methodology and the WfWI core programme, and lastly, we discuss our findings and opportunities for further analysis.

    CITATION

    McIlvaine, Kassie, Corey Oser, Julianna Lindsey and Maia Blume. 2015. Confidence, Capacity Building and Cash: Achieving Sustained Impact for Ultra-poor Women. IDS Bulletin 46(2): 83-92

    Reports
    ORGANIZATION
    Institute of Development Studies
  • Promoting Women’s Economic
    Empowerment: What Works?

    Mayra Buvinić and Rebecca Furst-Nichols.

    ABSTRACT

    A review of rigorous evaluations of interventions that seek to empower women economically shows that the same class of interventions has significantly different outcomes depending on the client. Capital alone, as a small cash loan or grant, is not sufficient to grow women-owned subsistence-level firms. However, it can work if it is delivered in-kind to more successful women microentrepreneurs, and it should boost the performance of women's larger-sized SMEs. Very poor women need a more intensive package of services than do less poor women to break out of subsistence production and grow their businesses. What works for young women does not necessarily work for adult women. Skills training, job search assistance, internships, and wage subsidies increase the employment levels of adult women but do not raise wages. However, similar interventions increase young women's employability and earnings if social restrictions are not binding. Women who run subsistence-level firms face additional social constraints when compared to similar men, thus explaining the differences in the outcomes of some loans, grants, and training interventions that favor men. Social constraints may also play a role in explaining women's outcome gains that are short-lasting or emerge with a delay. The good news is that many of the additional constraints that women face can be overcome by simple, inexpensive adjustments in program design that lessen family and social pressures. These include providing capital in-kind or transacted through the privacy of a mobile phone and providing secure savings accounts to nudge women to keep the money in the business rather than to divert it to non-business uses.

    CITATION

    “Buvinić, Mayra; Furst-Nichols, Rebecca. 2016. Promoting Women's Economic Empowerment : What Works?. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the World Bank. © World Bank. https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/27699 License: CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 IGO.”

    Journal Articles
    ORGANIZATION
    World Bank
  • Productive Safety Nets for Women in Extreme Poverty: Lessons from Pilot Projects in India and Pakistan

    Naila Kabeer, Karishma Huda, Sandeep Kaur, and Nicolina Lamhauge

    ABSTRACT

    Conventional government schemes and microfinance interventions have struggled to reach the poorest and help them escape the confines of extreme poverty. In response, BRAC, Bangladesh‟s largest non-governmental organisation (NGO), developed an innovative approach that combined livelihood creation, financial services and safety nets in order to „graduate‟ participants out of extreme poverty and toward a sustainable livelihood. Inspired by BRAC‟s success, CGAP and the Ford Foundation launched an initiative to test and adapt BRAC‟s approach in a diversity of countries and contexts through their Graduation Programme. This paper focuses upon two Graduation Programme implementations – one by Trickle Up in West Bengal, India, and the other by Orangi Charitable Trust (OCT) in Sindh, Pakistan. We use the „critical moments‟ framework developed in Kabeer (2008) to understand the conceptualisation of this project in response to a particular set of constraints (and opportunities), its translation into a concrete set of proposals for action, the implementation of these proposals, the monitoring and evaluation of the process of implementation, and finally, the utilisation of the lessons thus learnt. As a part of this process, we explain the way in which individual participants‟ have experienced the Graduation programme - the extent to which they benefited, the extent to which it is not so clear, and the multitude of factors behind these dynamics.

    CITATION

    Kabeer, Naila, Karishma Huda, Sandeep Kaur, and Nicolina Lamhauge. 2012. “Productive Safety Nets for Women in Extreme Poverty: Lessons from Pilot Projects in India and Pakistan.” Discussion Paper 28/12, Centre for Development Policy and Research, School of Oriental and African Studies, London.