Economic Development & Microfinance

Women contribute actively to economic development and sustainability. Their social status determines their access to opportunities for economic autonomy and advancement. In the US, the glass ceiling is still firmly in place in many sectors of the economy. Globally, economic development efforts are doomed to failure without women’s active involvement and participation. More efforts need to focus on empowering women as wage earners, entrepreneurs and business owners. Microfinance programs also offer great potential to lift women out of poverty.

Girls Grow: A Vital Force in Rural Economies

 In August 2010, The Chicago Council announced an initiative to bring attention to the role of girls in rural economies of developing countries and identify opportunities to increase investment in women and girls as a tool for economic growth and social stability. Catherine Bertini, currently a Chicago Council senior fellow and Professor of Public Administration and International Affairs at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, served as chair of the project.

URL: 
http://www.thechicagocouncil.org/files/Studies_Publications/TaskForcesandStudies/Girls_and_Rural_Economies.aspx

GEM 2010 Women's Report

The Report found that, in 2010, more than 104 million women between 18-64 years old were actively engaged in starting and running new business ventures, contributing significantly to entrepreneurship in all 59 economies studied. Another 83 million women were running established businesses that they started over 3½ years earlier. Taken together, 187 million women were involved in creating and operating enterprises, ranging from just over 1.5 percent to 45.4 percent of the adult female population in these 59 economies. Although entrepreneurial activity among women is highest in emerging economies (45.5 percent), the proportion of all entrepreneurs who are women varies considerably among the economies: from 16 percent in the Republic of Korea to 55 percent in Ghana–the only economy with more women than  men entrepreneurs. A multi-year analysis shows that this gender gap has persisted across most economies for the past nine years (2002-2010).

URL: 
http://www.gemconsortium.org/news/757/gem-2010-womens-report-

Making Macroeconomics Work for US: A Feminist Perspective

As the world experiences increasing inequalities and gaps between and within countries, women’s rights organizations are working to challenge current hegemonic systems and develop alternatives for change. Building on feminist economic analyses, the Center for Women's Global Leadership (CWGL) is undertaking the production of periodic briefs - Nexus: Shaping Feminist Visions in the 21st Century - to enhance women’s leadership for the realization of human rights. The briefs aim to both engender analytical and practical approaches to human rights in general, and economic and social rights in particular, as well as strengthen the capacity of feminist and social justice movements.

Brief Number 1 - "Making Macroeconomics Work For US: A Feminist Perspective" - highlights linkages between macroeconomics and human rights in order to better inform discussions about solutions to the current economic crisis in the United States.

URL: 
http://www.cwgl.rutgers.edu/globalcenter/publications/nexus/October%202011%20Brief%201.pdf

Understanding and Measuring Women's Economic Empowerment Definition, Framework and Indicators

Economically empowering women is essential both to realize women’s rights and to achieve broader development goals such as economic growth, poverty reduction, health, education and welfare. But women’s economic empowerment is a multifaceted concept so how can practitioners, researchers and donors design effective, measurable interventions?
 
This brief report lays out fundamental concepts including a definition of women’s economic empowerment; a measurement framework that can guide the design, implementation and evaluation of programs to economically empower women; and a set of illustrative indicators that can serve as concrete examples for developing meaningful metrics for success.
 
Anne Marie Golla, Anju Malhotra, Priya Nanda and Rekha Mehra
2011

 

URL: 
http://www.icrw.org/publications/understanding-and-measuring-womens-economic-empowerment
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