CPAN Event : Women’s Economic Empowerment and the practical measures to ensure no one is left behind

In celebration of the 2017 International Women’s Day (8th of March), the Chronic Poverty Advisory Network (CPAN) is holding an invitation-only ODI Roundtable to discuss Women’s Economic Empowerment and the practical measures to ensure no one is left behind. This will take place in the Overseas Development Institute’s offices in London from 14:30 to 16:00.


The absence of gender equity leaves women more likely to work in poorly paid and insecure employment, to own fewer assets than their male counterparts and to have less autonomy and to be blocked from taking an equal role in decision-making. This inequity penetrates into both the private and public domains, constraining the agency of women and girls in social, political and economic realms. Reversing this situation is crucial if the SDGs are to be met and the rights of women and girls taken seriously.

Programmatic and policy design to enable gender equity is notoriously difficult. Contestation slows progress and can create backlashes and reversals. Enabling women’s economic empowerment is one strand of the multi-sectoral efforts to create a more equal world. There are both intrinsic and instrumental arguments in favour of such efforts and this is an area now receiving considerable attention. However, much of the international literature and many policies and programmes assume women and girls to be a homogenous group and not enough is known on what needs to be done to reach the very poorest and most marginalised women and girls.

This event will bring together experts who will present new evidence on the economic empowerment of chronically poor and marginalised women. The aim is to identify the policies which are successful in both targeting and improving the livelihoods of this extremely vulnerable fraction of the population. The researchers will then draw on the conclusions to formulate policy recommendations and programmatic priorities.

In particular, Kate Bird, ODI senior research associate, and Vidya Diwakar, CPAN senior research officer, will present their recent findings on factors that can enable or constrain women’s economic empowerment and on the specific cases of Nigeria and Bangladesh (click on the links to download the executive summaries).

Other papers presented during the event include: 

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This event will take place within the framework of CPAN’s project Donor’s best practices in reducing chronic poverty of women and girls funded by Global Affairs Canada (GAC), Government of Canada.

For more information, see below:

Photo credits: A woman carries water buckets while also holding an infant. Mali. Photo: Curt Carnemark / World Bank Photo ID: ML090S16 World Bank