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Women’s Economic Empowerment Framework

Women’s Economic Empowerment Framework

This report provides a framework for monitoring Investing in Women’s contribution to the goal of accelerating women’s economic empowerment in Southeast Asia and contributing to inclusive economic growth.

This framework attempts to answer three questions:

  • What do we mean by women’s economic empowerment in the context of Investing in Women?
  • What are the pathways and spheres of influence through which Investing in Women contributes to women’s economic empowerment?
  • Within the boundaries of what is feasible and realistic, how will Investing in Women’s contribution to women’s economic empowerment be measured?

The report considers the meaning of women’s economic empowerment, proposing the following definition that: ‘a woman is economically empowered when she has both the ability to succeed and advance economically and the power to make and act on economic decisions.’

The framework discusses some of the theoretical frameworks that have contributed to the design of Investing in Women interventions and the development of the pathways that underlie the program, providing a comparison of the Rao Kelleher Gender at Work framework, upon which the Investing in Women program was originally conceived, with the more recent UN High Level Committee on Women’s Economic Empowerment’s ‘7 drivers of women’s economic empowerment.’

Investing in Women creates a chain of influence that is experienced at an individual, and at the group level, and the framework maps these spheres of influences to show how changes in norms, rules, policies and consciousness may take place across a wide range of stakeholder groups and individuals. The framework also considers how best to measure the success of Investing in Women interventions on drivers of and pathways to women’s economic empowerment, highlighting the difference between the direct impacts of the interventions of partners that Investing in Women works with, compared with the interventions of Investing in Women itself.


  • Introduction
  • Defining women’s economic empowerment
  • Drivers, or pathways to Women’s Economic Empowerment
  • Investing in Women spheres of influence
  • Measuring Women’s Economic Empowerment
  • Concluding Remarks
  • Annexes
  • Tables
  • Figures
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