IDRC contributes to UN Report on fostering women’s economic empowerment
Women are often excluded and disadvantaged in economic systems. In addition to wage and other work gaps between men and women, they may also experience a lack of recognition and legal protection, immobility in low-paying jobs, violence, and harassment. In Mexico, for example, 80% of the 20 million youth who are unemployed and not in school are women.
In March 2017, the United Nations High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment published its final report on how to combat gender inequality in the formal and informal economy. The report signals a call for action; it outlines key recommendations for stakeholders at all levels to improve economic outcomes for women and girls. It also builds on the initial report the Panel published in September 2016, which identified seven drivers to overcome systemic barriers to women’s economic empowerment.
IDRC’s Growth and Economic Opportunities for Women (GrOW) program played an important role by providing evidence to the Panel. GrOW organized three consultations and background papers about women’s entrepreneurship (PDF, 752KB) and women in the "care economy" (PDF, 204KB). In addition, GrOW attended both Panel launches at the UN and organized discussions on balancing unpaid care work with paid work and the role of childcare, as part of the Commission of the Status of Women meetings in March.
Key findings from GrOW’s work for the UN High-Level Panel include:
- The need for more and better data on what works to grow women-owned businesses;
- Recognition that constraints for women in business are compounded by discriminatory laws and the burden of care;
- Good quality infrastructure and services, including public childcare, enable women’s empowerment;
- Training and services are useful, but alone they are insufficient to boost women entrepreneurs. A gender lens to trade and procurement is key.