Catch up on our webinar with the Center for Global Development
On 2 August, the Center for Global Development (CGD) hosted a webinar, “Where is the money for women’s economic empowerment?” At this event, we launched our latest report series on donor and government financing to address gender gaps in women’s economic empowerment, including unpaid care work and access to financial services. A panel of expert donor and civil society representatives reflected on this research and discussed what future investments should look like.
Below we give an overview of the event, who participated, and five key take-aways.
- Moderator: Megan O’Donnell – Assistant Director, Gender Program and Policy Fellow, CGD
- Speaker: Alex Farley-Kiwanuka – Project Manager, Publish What You Fund
- Nnenna Nwabufo – Director General East Africa Region, African Development Bank
- Gisela Strand – Senior Gender Equality Advisor, Sida
- Chryspin Afifu – Gender & Women Economic Empowerment Technical Specialist, International Center for Research on Women – Africa
- Farah Kabir – Country Director, ActionAid Bangladesh
Please view a recording of the event below:
Five key reflections from the webinar
1. A holistic approach to WEE and its funding is critical
The panel agreed that Publish What You Fund’s holistic women’s economic empowerment framework encompasses three key and interconnected areas: core income-generating activities, economic rights, policies and supports, and foundational capabilities. If funders only focus on one area, they may miss opportunities for progress in others.
“There is no single investment for women’s economic empowerment. But the key is empowerment.”
2. Funding to key sectors for women’s economic empowerment should be more gender intentional
Panelists expressed that the research aligned with their expectation that a lot of funding still does not include a gender lens, meaning that women’s empowerment is not a key outcome. This is especially true for funding going to the infrastructure and energy sectors, which are often funded through loans from development finance institutions. Yet, the panel highlighted the importance of considering opportunities for women’s economic empowerment at the project design phase. In particular for infrastructure projects, because quality infrastructure is essential for women to pursu eeconomic opportunities, to provide safety, and to reduce unpaid care work.
3. More can be done to coordinate WEE funding
During the panel, the civil society representatives underscored the need for funders to invest in longitudinal and action research to determine the viability of any programmes and business cases to achieve women’s economic empowerment in different country and regional contexts. This would allow funders to understand where funding can achieve the most impact. The panelists also recommended for funders and other development partners to harmonize their gender and/or WEE strategies, to make sure that people are operating with the same understanding of these concepts, adopt similar measurements of success for WEE, and that key partners like women’s rights organizations are not underfunded.
4. We need more information to understand the impact of these investments
The panel highlighted the need for more data so we can move beyond tracking funding and track funding impact. An important consideration here is for funders to not just measure and publish project outputs or the number of women beneficiaries, but how projects have actually transformed women’s lives. Publish What You Fund will expand on the barriers to accessing results data and offer funders recommendations to address this in an upcoming Global Transparency Report (expected November 2022).
5. There is a clear case for increasing investments to reduce women and girls’ unpaid care work
While more and more evidence is being generated that reducing and redistributing unpaid care work is crucial to promote WEE and gender equality, Publish What You Fund’s findings suggest that across Bangladesh, Kenya, and Nigeria, only 3% of WEE projects addressed women and girls’ unpaid care work. The panel agreed that increasing investments into research and pilot programmes in national and regional contexts, and more funding to build government and civil society capacity around unpaid care work, could help to shape more effective care policies, programmes, and public services. Furthermore, research into the business cases and measuring the value of addressing unpaid care work could also help incentivize different governments, funders, and partners to invest in this area.
As discussed in the webinar, Publish What You Fund is looking to expand its research on funding to care. A concept note is available here. To discuss the concept note or our women’s economic empowerment work more broadly, please contact Alex Farley-Kiwanuka at Alex.Farley-Kiwanuka@publishwhatyoufund.org.