Gender and Economic Development

The Gender and Economic Development programme emphasizes economic empowerment of women and girls. EASSI focuses on enhancing capacity to increase women’s real power over economic decisions that influence their lives and priorities in society. Women’s economic empowerment is seen today as the single most important factor contributing to equality between women and men. Economic stability increases an individual’s options and choices in life. It has been proven economic empowerment puts women in a stronger position, gives women the power to: participate together with men in shaping of society, to influence development at all levels of society, and to make decisions and promote their well-being and that of their families.

Women’s economic empowerment is achieved through equal access to and control over critical economic resources and opportunities, and eliminating structural gender inequalities to make markets work for women and empower women to compete in trade. Women can achieve economic empowerment if the resources are available and women have the skills to utilize them; if women have access to economic opportunities and control over the economic benefits of those opportunities and if women can use those benefits to make strategic choices leading to positive changes in their lives.

In reality, women face difficulties throughout this process and overcoming many of them requires society to actively reduce gender discriminatory norms and practices and to ensure that duty bearers are accountable for putting gender rights into practice. The economic empowerment of women requires working with men, challenging long-standing gender stereotypes, increased accountability and systematic transformation both cultural and government institutions to actively promote gender equality and women’s rights. In practical terms this means institutions questioning and changing their goals, strategies and working processes to promote gender equality. Understanding women’s economic empowerment in this way opens up opportunities to improve the situation of women through a number of interventions in different sectors.

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