Growth and economic opportunities for women: literature review to inform the DFID-IDRC-Hewlett Foundation research program on women's economic empowerment, gender equality and growth in low income countries

Published: July 2013

This is a background paper for a new research programme on women's economic empowerment. It is a comprehensive literature review on the state of the field. Section 1 briefly discusses the global evidence on existing gender disparities in employment, wages, business opportunities, and the care economy. Sections 2, 3 and 4 describe the existing knowledge in the programme's central themes - constraints to women's economic empowerment, and the links between economic empowerment and growth - followed by research gaps and questions.

Key Findings

  • Currently, there is significant global commitment to address gender inequality, including as countries and companies realise that holding women back reduces their competitiveness and potential for growth, and this program aims to galvanise that interest and commitment.
  • The potential for research to inform policy and practice needs to be enhanced by specific measures for research uptake, notably, by ensuring research questions are relevant through engagement with policy makers and other potential users, and by communicating research effectively and synthesising research for different audiences.
  • A global research, which will bring together researchers from different countries and academic disciplines, which will produce high-quality evidence, has the potential to inform policy and practice to promote empowerment.

Populations Adolescent Girls, Rural

Complementary Outcomes Education And Literacy, Food And Nutrition Security, Gender-based Violence, Sexual And Reproductive Health, Women's Leadership

Industries Agriculture/Food Processing, Manufacturing, Service/Hospitality

Publishers William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, International Development Research Centre (IDRC), UK Department for International Development (DFID)

Geographic Focus Africa (Sub-Saharan)

Funded by William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, United Kingdom Department for International Development, International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Canada