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CGD’s work on gender focuses policies in aid, development finance, trade, migration and peacekeeping that will improve women’s economic empowerment worldwide.
Greater equality drives big gains in health, education, employment, and improved livelihoods—for individuals, their families, and their communities. However, in many parts of the world, women and girls, and other marginalized groups including LGBT people, still face legal, economic, and political constraints that prevent them from participating fully and equally in society. CGD uses evidence to show how governments, donor institutions, and the private sector can help create conditions in low- and middle-income countries that allow all people to thrive.
Women are overrepresented in the informal sector worldwide, often stuck in dangerous, insecure, low-paid jobs. Waste picking in particular is a highly vulnerable and risky form of informal employment. In 1995, India’s Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) organized women waste pickers in Ahmedabad into a cooperative to improve their working conditions and livelihoods. Over time, this informal arrangement evolved into Gitanjali – a women-owned and -run social enterprise, that produces a full range of stationery products for large multinational corporations, including Staples, IBM, and Goldman Sachs. What difference has Gitanjali made to the lives and opportunities of women waste pickers in India? What are the implications for women’s social enterprises in other countries? What are the challenges that remain to be overcome? The Center for Global Development is delighted to bring together some of the key private sector partners that helped Gitanjali generate social value, along with practitioners from the public sector and multilateral financial institutions, for a robust discussion about job options for poor women in low paid, informal occupations, including a model entrepreneurship venture. The event will be informed by the CGD report, The Gitanjali Cooperative: A Social Enterprise in the Making. Copies of the report’s executive summary will be provided. Light refreshments will be available.
Under managing director Christine Lagarde, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has become a champion for gender equality. This note examines how much the IMF’s dialogue with its member countries has changed as a result of the labeling of gender as a "macrocritical" issue. In short, there has been increased attention to the issue as reflected in word counts and discussion of women’s labor force participation, but there is still a long way to go.
On October 4, CGD convened a private roundtable on women and financial technology in development alongside Monica Brand Engel, co-founding partner of Quona Capital (which invests in financial technology solutions in the developing world), and Wendy Jagerson Teleki of the International Finance Corporation. An engaged set of participants from MDBs, government, civil society, and the private sector joined Engel and Teleki in exchanging ideas on how to increase women’s representation in financial technology (or “fintech” for short) leadership and improve access to financial services for women.
The Birdsall House Conference Series on Women seeks to identify and bring attention to leading research and scholarly findings on women’s empowerment in the fields of development economics, behavioral economics, and political economy. On December 7th, academics, private sector representatives, and policymakers will turn to an issue that affects women in rich and poor countries alike: the ability to make informed, voluntary, and autonomous choices about childbearing, and the implications of reproductive choice as a lever to expand women’s economic and life prospects. Until recently, there has been a lack of rigorous empirical evidence on the links between contraceptive access and women’s economic empowerment in low- and middle-income countries. The 2017 Birdsall House Conference will feature new findings on this relationship alongside existing evidence from the United States.
The terminology describing economic programs for women has changed: actions to ‘empower women economically’ have replaced efforts to ‘increase women’s productivity and incomes.’ But how can we actually measure ‘economic empowerment’? Last November, CGD, in collaboration with Data2X, IDRC and the World Bank Africa Gender Innovation Lab organized a panel discussion on possible measures and issues, drawing on evidence from the ExxonMobil Foundation-funded report Women’s Economic Empowerment: A Roadmap and its update, “Revisiting What Works.” Read the overview here. Since then, new research has been conducted which raises alternative perspectives on these measures.