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Question of the week 15

What are successful examples of integrated approaches that support women entrepreneurs to become more economically empowered?

Reactions (14)

Craig Valters - Overseas Development Institute
2016-10-11 16:59

There has been a range of research at ODI that will likely be of interest. That includes:

- Evidence review on Women's Voice and Leadership (pp. 61 - 83 on economic empowerment)

- Synthesis report on Women's Voice and Leadership, which references a range of case studies

- Women's economic empowerm... read more »

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Lindy Wafula - Village Ventures International
2016-10-11 17:25

Some of the Intergrated approaches that we have employed in the economic empowerment of women in rural Kenya include vocational skills training in our Women's Academy. The Women's academy is a women's only centre of excellence where women are empowered with various vocational skills in an environment that is women friendly. Apart from skills training other services include baby care services thus mothers with children can afford to attend their training courses without worrying about care for children.

Secondly, in addition to financial supp... read more »

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Abigail Hunt - Overseas Development Institute
2016-10-12 11:45

ODI’s evidence shows that the most effective support to women’s economic empowerment works across several spheres, which means bridging across policy areas – such as macroeconomic, labour and social policy – which can in practice often be quite siloed or separate.

There are a number of case studies of promising practice related to this in our new report on women’s economic empowerment which can be found here:

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Emmanuel Nwosu - Department of Economics, University of Nigeria,
2016-10-12 14:24

In Nigeria, various approaches that were used in the past to try to economically empower women did not have have any known impact on them.  First, most of these interventions were associated with wives of the former presidents such as Better Life for Rural Women, Family Economic Advancement Programme, and so on which were immediately abandoned once that particular regime was over. This made them mere slogans and ways to attract funds from development partners rather than real economic empowerment agenda. Second, none of them was based on any in... read more »

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Karen Kammeraat - Brilliant Entrepreneur
2016-10-12 15:17

Our program focuses on the integration of personal/self and business development and until now the results and feedback are very positive. Most of the BDS programs in developing and emerging economies focus on 'technical' aspects like marketing, writing business plans, bookkeeping, etc. These are valuable trainings, but what is lacking is attention for the person. While the person of the entrepreneurs is core and key to the company! Without her, the company would not have existed! So it is good to know your talent, strengths and weaknesses, pas... read more »

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Arjan de Haan - IDRC
2016-10-12 18:44

As highlighted by others, our work also indicates that as women's constraints are manifold, solutions need to address a variety of factors. Evaluations of credit and training programs show that they can have a positive impact, but these impacts remain limited because of the specific cosntraints female entrepreneurs face - including for example time and care burden. Value chain (and supplier di... read more »

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Eyerusalem Siba - Brookings Institution
2016-10-12 21:14

Addressing the hard skill deficit can only go so far without combating the typical domestic and societal pressures that continue to plague women in the developing world.

Some examples of integrated approach in addressing socio-cultural constraints include:

- Designing gender sensitive policies in areas that affect women’s participation in labor market, business and decision-making
- building towards culture and value system which rewards balanced division of labor in the household (e.g. Affordable child-care and economic... read more »

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Thierry Kame Babilla - University of Yaounde II_CEREG
2016-10-12 22:03

With the collapse of commodities prices, resources-rich low-income countries face serious challenges of diversifying their economies and raising output growth. The key issues of theses challenges are the financial frictions faced by female entrepreneurs in the credit market. In Cameroon, despite successful achievement made by government in recent decades to close the gender gap in the domain of education, health, employment and political participation, there are still fewer female entrepreneurs relative to male entrepreneurs mainly because of f... read more »

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Fatoumata L. Diallo - Platform member of INCLUDE
2016-10-13 12:39

Recent research findings in many developing countries emphasizes clearly that interventions to empower women economically should take into account social and cultural constraints. In other words, female empowerment and entrepreneurship are hindered more by social and cultural factors than by limited access to financial resources. Therefore the question on how to support women to become more economically empowered becomes relevant and should be discussed widely because empowering women has positive impact on economic growth and development.
For... read more »

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Francisco Campos - World Bank
2016-10-13 12:42

Integrated approaches are seen as valid solutions to empower women entrepreneurs in developing countries. At entry into entrepreneurship, integrated vocational and life skills training and large grants in the context of a business plan competition are very effective in empowering women. During business operations, combining assistance in formalizing firms with offering business bank ac... read more »

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Thierry Kame Babilla
2016-10-13 14:06

For more information in this issue you can read the following papers from our research:
Title: “Macro implications of female entrepreneurs facing financial frictions to access to credit in Cameroon, PEP Working Paper No 2016-02, available at, January, 2... read more »

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Nnetu-Okolieuwa, Vivian Ikwuoma - Department of Economics, University of Nigeria Nsukka
2016-10-20 05:40

Most research in Nigeria has not been based on an integrated approach. But, there is research going on in Uganda, Kenya, India and some other countries which hope to tackle both female empowerment and socio-cultural constraints. A good example is the introduction of reusable pads where women (students inclusive) are taught on good menstrual hygiene management and are also provided reusable pads. Furthermore, some of these women are taught on how to produce these pads and sell in order to earn a living.  Some cultures believe that when men see t... read more »

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INCLUDE secretariat - INCLUDE
2016-10-21 13:35

Many thanks to all contributors to this Question of the week. Below you can find a summary of the discussion so far, but additional contributions, comments and follow-up questions are still much appreciated.
Most developing countries have witnessed a multitude of uni-dimensional development programs aiming to empower women. These programs, of which Emmanuel Nwosu (University of Nigeria) provided some good examples, largely fail to achieve their goals in a sustainable fashion. Abigail Hunt from the ODI emphasized that it is vital to bridge gap... read more »

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Saskia Vossenberg - ISS / Royal Tropical Institute (KIT Gender)
2016-10-21 14:29

Successful examples of integrated approaches that support women entrepreneurs are grounded in the question: 'what works where and for who'. Not all women entrepreneurs are the same nor do they experience the same constraints and opportunities. Especially female entrepreneurs operating in informal economies need support with overcoming the gendered risks and circumstances under which they operate their businesses. Meaning, challenging those negative norms and rules that legitimize what women can and cannot have, be and do in a society.  
A good... read more »

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