Invisible Market: Energy and Agricultural Technologies for Women's Economic Advancement

Published: January 2012

This research explores what it takes for technology initiatives, specifically in the energy and agricultural sectors, to reach and economically benefit women in developing countries through market-based strategies that have the potential for achieving scale and financial sustainability. It builds on ICRW's landmark paper, Bridging the Gender Divide: How Technology Can Advance Women Economically, which made the case for how technologies can create pathways for strengthening women's economic opportunities. Through a field-level investigation and interviews with experts, the authors examine how women's use of technology and their involvement in the development and distribution of a technology can not only advance women economically, but also can benefit enterprise-based technology initiatives by expanding their markets and helping them generate greater financial returns.

Key Findings

  • Technology initiatives can benefit women while advancing scale and financial sustainability.
  • Marketing efforts that specifically reach women or increase women's demand for and community acceptance of women's use of technology are important.
  • Engaging women within the supply chain, particularly in retail and marketing, has the potential to create meaningful options for women to earn additional income.
  • Focused efforts tailored to meet women's needs can enable women to purchase and benefit from technologies and generate results for initiatives and women.
  • The technology initiatives have many of the necessary elements to establish financially sustainable, market-based supply chains.

Populations Poor, Rural, Urban, Women

Publishers International Center for Research on Women (ICRW)

Funded by Exxon Mobil Foundation