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Women’s Economic Empowerment
Helping women 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.
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.
Our Work in 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:
- Training, supporting, and empowering women as farmers, entrepreneurs, workers, and members of farming households.
- Closing gender gaps in the performance of farms and enterprises led by men or women.
- 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 women to become farmer trainers, business advisors, and other staffers working within local communities. This helps create local jobs for women, but also establishes women as role models and knowledge experts, changing gender stereotypes within a community.
Featured Women's Economic Empowerment Projects
Making Markets Work for Women Entrepreneurs
Examples of intervention areas include: Access to Equipment: Women entrepreneurs need access to reliable equipment to be productive. WIN is helping companies that have equipment – from cold storage containers to sewing machines – to develop more inclusive models that reach lower-income women. Financial services: Financial services are necessary for…
Coffee Alliance For Excellence
CAFE is a public-private partnership working to create a more prosperous and inclusive coffee sector. The program is helping 12,000 coffee farming families, many of them in former coca-growing regions, to earn more sustainable livelihoods by improving productivity and quality and building links to profitable markets.
Access to Finance for Women Entrepreneurs in Bihar
TechnoServe is working with Goldman Sachs on a pilot project aimed at creating and improving Access to Finance (A2F) for small women entrepreneurs, engaged in agricultural and allied businesses in India.
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 39% 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.
Local and international businesses
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.
Featured Women's Economic Empowerment Blog Posts
5 Questions with Cristina Manfre, Global Gender Director
Empowering Women in Coffee
Introducing a New Way to Share Development Knowledge
“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.