UN Women and the SEEP Network have teamed up to offer you an opportunity to engage with key experts on both conceptual and practical issues around women’s economic empowerment in inclusive market systems. Following two exceptionally well-attended webinars and online discussions on “From Theory to Practice: Inclusive Market Systems Development” and “Inclusive Business that Empowers Women”, we will now focus on the quality of employment.
Women tend to be over-represented in low-pay, low-productivity work with little security or protection. They also experience higher incidence of sexual harassment and discrimination. Moreover, the poorest women in many market systems, and agriculture in particular, are not formally employed and contribute to enterprises as unpaid family workers. This third webinar will examine how market systems projects can seek to improve the quality of women’s employment.
Entitled “Empowering Women: Why Quality Jobs Matter”, the webinar will take place on 27 May from 9:30am to 11:00am (EDT). If you would like to attend the webinar, please register now. Immediately after the webinar we will host a 3-week online discussion from 27 May until 18 June. Join the conversation!
From 29 January to 19 February 2015, EmpowerWomen hosted an e-discussion on women’s economic empowerment in inclusive market systems. This e-discussion provided a space to continue the conversation initiated on the Webinar co-organized by UN Women, USAID and SEEP Network on 29 January 2015. Moderators and experts from ACDI/VOCA, Care International, ILO, Oxfam, Practical Action, and MarketShare Associates facilitated the e-discussion, and brought their own perspectives and questions to the e-discussion. The e-discussion consisted of three separate discussion threads: 1) Capacity of collective actions to influence markets; 2) structural transformation and bottom-up change; and 3) Facilitation approach to project implementation.
The e-discussion attracted 2,636 women and men from 83 countries. We received 49 substantive comments which highlighted the challenges and opportunities for women to fully participate in markets and become economically empowered. Through examples, participants demonstrated how markets can become more inclusive for women, grow as a consequence, and benefit entire families, communities and societies. The outcomes of this e-discussion may shed some light on how international development organizations can improve their approach to programmes and bring sustainable benefits for women to access, influence and positively transform markets.
Participants made some relevant recommendations for making market systems more inclusive for women and enabling women and men within the communities to influence changes and ensure sustainability of development projects:
Combine structural transformation and bottom-up change;
Empower women and others to influence the business environment so that their access and participation in markets increase;
Promote agency and involve women in decisions affecting their communities and markets;
Promote collaboration amongst producers (women and men) and relationship development with other market system players;
Promote collective action platforms for women, and be aware that unique types of collective action platforms will yield different outcomes;
Ensure women’s access to productive resources and business networks;
Challenge gender stereotypes and social norms through market systems interventions;
Apply a facilitation approach to enhance ownership by local market actors to further empower women;
Catalyze market actors to change their practices and rethink their assumptions about the way business is done so it responds to women’s preferences and needs;
Provide opportunities for women to further develop business and leadership skills;
Raise awareness of business service providers about the challenges and opportunities of women’s participation in markets so they may better understand and address their needs