Recent Research on Women’s Economic Empowerment | Donor Committee for Enterprise Development DCED

The DCED is a forum for learning about the most effective ways to fulfil the SDGs – based on practical experience in Private Sector Development (PSD). The September 2017 update brings together key findings from recent original studies on constraints and solutions to women’s economic empowerment (WEE), as well as the social and economic benefits of WEE.

Get the Report here as pdf.file [872 KB]

Key findings:

  1. There are persistent gender gaps in the economic empowerment of women and men in the agricultural sector, across different countries.
  2. Economic transformation offers new opportunities for entrepreneurship, wage labour and social empowerment, but women often benefit less from these than men.
  3. In the agricultural sector, successful country-specific solutions to WEE have focused on addressing the most binding constraints, or enhancing women’s participation in markets that they are already active in.
  4. Some regulatory reforms and agricultural value chain interventions are found to have social empowerment benefits, and these benefits often seem to increase over time.
  5. There is however also new evidence that economic development programmes have not always been effective in addressing binding constraints for women.
  6. Recent research is inconclusive on the relationship between WEE and partner violence, but programmes can probably do more to reduce the risk of doing harm.
  7. Several new resources aim to support programme in gender-sensitive and/or WEE-focused design and results measurement – something that many studies recommend in order to achieve better WEE outcomes.

Findings of programmes and researchers have also been shared at the recent SEEP Network’s Learning Forum on Women’s Economic Empowerment in Bangkok; many presentations and additional resources are available on the SEEP website.

For more evidence on pro-poor impacts of private sector development, take a look at the DCED Evidence Framework. You can also find more research and case studies on WEE on the Women’s Economic Empowerment knowledge page, which will be updated in light of the studies below. If you have any comments, or know of any other new research that should be included, please let us know via

Source: Donor Committee for Enterprise Development – DCED