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The Potential for a New Way of Approaching Women’s Economic Empowerment in Market Systems Development

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

2022

Asia

Discussion Paper

Workplace Gender Equality

The Potential for a New Way of Approaching Women’s Economic Empowerment in Market Systems Development

The Potential for a New Way of Approaching Women’s Economic Empowerment in Market Systems Development

The Potential for a New Way of Approaching Women’s Economic Empowerment in Market Systems Development discussion paper by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is an outcome of the Engaging Women in Markets – Online Seminar Series that ran from 19 August to 22 September 2021.

It was hosted by the Gender Responsive Equitable Agriculture and Tourism program that is designed to improve the lives of women in the ethnically diverse provinces of Son La and Lao Cai in Vietnam’s North-West. Women’s economic empowerment is the core objective of program and inclusive market development is the primary vehicle to achieve it.

The Seminar Series brought together Australian Government-funded programs, including Australia-Indonesia Partnership for Promoting Rural Incomes through Support for Markets in Agriculture, Cambodia-Australia Agricultural Value Chain Program, Market Development Facility and Investing in Women to share and document approaches and lessons on gender and women’s economic empowerment.

This discussion paper is designed to capture the key learnings from the Seminar Series and stimulate further discussion to strengthen thinking about and approaches for women’s economic empowerment in market systems development.

Highlights

  • Evidence shows that women experience many challenges including limited decision-making power, choices, and control over resources that prevent them from engaging in markets and pursuing their aspirations.
  • While some Market Systems Development programs have initiated approaches that have been effective in addressing barriers for Women’s Economic Empowerment, other Market Systems Development programs that aim to increase Women’s Economic Empowerment adopt mainstreaming approaches that only accommodate the needs of women to enable them to participate, rather than addressing the contributing factors to gender inequality and/or the barriers to women’s participation.
  • Addressing women’s constraints in market systems requires gender-transformative approaches that enable change not only at the individual level but also challenge the structural factors that perpetuate and reinforce gender inequalities.
  • Clear guidance and expectations about gender transformative change and how this can be implemented should be discussed at the design and onset of Market Systems Development programs. Current programs can also start the process of shifting their thinking and ways of working by talking about how Market Systems Development programs can do Women’s Economic Empowerment better.

Contents

  • Women’s Economic Empowerment in Market Systems Development: A Background
  • Pathways to a Gender Transformative WEE in MSD Approach
  • Using Gender Transformative Approaches for Women’s Economic Empowerment
  • A Gender-Transformative Model for Women’s Economic Empowerment in Market Systems Development
  • Six Effective Habits: The Building Blocks of Gender-Transformative Practice
    1. A Gender Aware Organisation
    2. Gender analysis across all market system levels
    3. Robust WEE+MSD theory of change
    4. Engaging with men and boys to achieve lasting change
    5. Engaging with market actors and stakeholders
    6. Measuring transformative change
  • Current Gender-Transformative Practices in MSD Programs
    • GREAT
    • PRISMA
    • CAVAC
    • MDF
  • Conclusion
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