Empowering women

September 21, 2018

Five women farmers in Kenya

Photo credit: IDRC / Sven Torfinn

The Sustainable Development Goals’ (SDGs) commitment to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all will be achieved only if development initiatives consider and promote the unique needs, knowledge, roles, and potential of women and girls.

IDRC funds research that supports gender equality, facilitates women’s empowerment, and builds the capacity of female researchers to become leaders. By supporting research that confronts the structural and root causes of gender inequalities, IDRC helps to ensure that women, young girls, and children can take advantage of the same opportunities as men.

The Centre joins the worldwide call for collective action and shared responsibility for achieving gender parity and a safe, inclusive environment for all women.

IDRC fully endorses the rights of all women and girls to equal opportunity, and to lead lives free of violence and discrimination.

What does empowering women look like?

It looks like high quality, demand-driven, policy-relevant knowledge, partnerships, and networks in the pursuit of effective, evidence-based action to reduce gender disparity, improve opportunities, and embrace women’s autonomy.

It looks like supporting evidence-based research that fosters effective and long-term action to reduce social inequality, foster greater gender parity, and build a safer world.

It looks like promoting agricultural innovations that improve women’s income and access to markets, promoting female entrepreneurship in technology-based interventions, and examining how care work and other domestic duties are valued and redistributed inside and outside the household.

These projects explore some of the many ways that IDRC-supported research is promoting gender equality and ultimately contributing to the SDGs. By sharing efforts to empower women, IDRC is contributing to a vital global conversation that will help make gender equality a reality worldwide.

Gender in context

Science and technology

A woman in a labThe world needs more women scientists

Women are significantly underrepresented in science, making up only 28% of all researchers globally.

A woman in front of a pink wall holding a cellphoneFostering an Internet for women’s empowerment

Coding Rights leverages creative feminist approaches to support online rights.

Young women learn computer skills, Hyderabad, PakistanINTERNET5: Shaping an Internet for women’s empowerment

An Internet that helps achieve Sustainable Development Goal 5 for gender equality.

Inclusive economies

A teacher helping a student in a class room in Nairobi, KenyaCould affordable daycare be the key to unlocking women’s earning power in Africa?

Balancing childcare and income generation is a problem faced by mothers around the world.

Mariam Nakawa, photographed near her mine shaft at a gold mining site in central Uganda.Golden girls: The hidden role of women in Africa's artisanal mines

Nakacho was one of just a handful of women who become part-owner of a mine shaft.


Health Extension worker discusses Health and Nutrition with a motherUnderstanding the dynamics of gender equality and eHealth

EHealth programs need to consider gender and social and cultural differences to reach their full potential.

Agriculture and environment

 Nalina & Subbanna at their field in Hadanahalli village Promoting gender and climate-smart agriculture to improve farmer resilience

Climate-smart agriculture increases farmers’ resilience to climate change while improving food security and increasing incomes.

Sefiya Heliso harvests chickpeas in southern EthiopiaPulse power

In Ethiopia, protein-rich crops of pulses are no longer playing second fiddle to maize and wheat — a shift that’s transforming lives.

A waste fieldGiving a voice to the urban poor: the scavengers of Cochabamba

For Bolivia’s urban poor, it’s vital to adopt "survival strategies” to provide supplemental income that makes up for precarious and low wages.

Perspectives on gender and women’s empowerment

More stories of gender equality