Sanatu Andani, 49, Mariama Andani, Damata Shihadu, 39 (left to right), carrying water from tap for Nyebu Be Yoona Shea Butter Processing Group, Kanfiehiyili village, Tamale, Ghana.

Women’s Economic Empowerment

Empowering women to achieve their full potential is one of the most powerful ways to fight poverty. Yet in many countries where TechnoServe works, women continue to face tremendous barriers to success. They have limited access to the productive resources like land, finance, and information that they need to grow their farms and businesses, and they are disproportionately affected by poverty, violence, and discrimination. In most cases, women must also balance the bulk of household and childcare responsibilities with efforts to improve their skills and earn independent incomes.

Why is women's economic empowerment important for development?

Investing in opportunities for women could have tremendous economic and social impact. If women farmers had the same access as men to training, information, and resources, they could increase production on their farms by up to 30%. And on a wider scale, a recent study estimated that women’s equal participation in the labor market would increase the global GDP by 26%, or $28 trillion. Moreover, women’s economic empowerment not only promotes greater economic development but greater equity, opportunity, and social progress.


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What is Women’s Economic Empowerment?

TechnoServe works creatively and proactively to help women around the world gain equal access to the knowledge, jobs, and finance that enhance both their incomes and their opportunities for the future.

Our work centers around three main goals:

  1. Training, supporting, and empowering women as farmers, entrepreneurs, workers, and members of farming households.
  2. Closing gender gaps in the performance of farms and enterprises led by men or women.
  3. Building inclusive and competitive businesses that generate decent opportunities for women and men employees, suppliers, and consumers.

We do this by working with families and communities to overcome gender barriers that may prevent women’s equal participation in our programs or income-generating activities.

As part of this approach, we developed a system of jointly training husbands and wives, in order to foster appreciation for women’s economic contributions, as well as greater dialogue, knowledge-sharing, and joint decision-making within the household.

TechnoServe also works with businesses and financial institutions to employ, buy from, and service women on equal levels as men. And within the farmer cooperatives and other business organizations that we work with, we promote women’s leadership and equal participation. This extends to our own staff.

TechnoServe applies special recruiting practices to ensure equal opportunities for empowering women to become farmer trainers, business advisors, and other staffers working within local communities.

This approach not only helps create local jobs for women, but also establishes women as role models and knowledge experts, changing gender stereotypes within a community.

Who Benefits From Empowering Women?

Women farmers and entrepreneurs

Empowering women economically helps empower women within their families, their communities, and beyond. TechnoServe sets ambitious targets for women’s inclusion in all our programs, working hard to overcome social and cultural barriers to women’s full participation. Women currently comprise 42% our total beneficiaries and 58% of our beneficiaries in the entrepreneurship sector – a percentage that is very high for many of the places we work, but one that we constantly strive to increase. TechnoServe has now helped improve the incomes and livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of enterprising women throughout the developing world.

Empowering Women in Business and Work

Enhancing women’s farming, business, and leadership skills makes them more productive and engaged workers, suppliers, and customers for local businesses as well as international companies. TechnoServe helps companies invest in the women involved in their business operations and supply chains, particularly to develop policies that are family-friendly and promote women’s equity and safety. 

Families and communities

When women gain economic empowerment, the effects spread across families and communities. Research indicates that women invest more of their income on family needs such as food, medical care, and schooling, improving opportunities for the next generation. Women in leadership positions such as entrepreneurs, farmer trainers, or cooperative leaders, also help break down harmful gender-based norms and stereotypes in their communities, while serving as important role models for girls and other women.

“We Make the Country Grow”

See how TechnoServe helps ambitious women entrepreneurs in Mozambique to achieve their full potential and create economic benefits for themselves, their families, and communities.