Sustainable women’s economic empowerment: Looking beyond labour force participation

Tuesday 22 March, 2.30pm EST. 10th Floor, UN Church Center, 777 UN Plaza

The presentation given by Jenipher Twebaze, of the BRAC Research and Evaluation Unit, is available here to download [

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Women’s increasing entry into the labour market has not been matched by a change in the gendered division of unpaid care work. To turn this ‘double burden’ of work for women into a ‘double boon’ we need to achieve a fair and equitable balance between unpaid care work and paid work. The inclusion of unpaid care as a target within Global Goal 5 on Gender Equality offers an opportunity to push for real progress in this area.  But if we are going to achieve a sustained improvement in women’s economic empowerment, we need to respond to some big questions: 

  • How can an increase in women’s participation in the labour force not deepen women’s time poverty?
  • What possible roles can the state play in ensuring women’s economic empowerment that is optimised, shared within families, and sustained across generations?
  • How can solutions be designed such that ‘empowerment’ of one woman does not lead to other women be disempowered? 
  • How can women’s rights intersect positively with child rights to support sustainable economic empowerment?
  • Do men and boys have to play any role in women’s economic empowerment? 
  • What is missing in measuring women’s economic empowerment in terms of their ability to earn and control income?

Drawing on research knowledge from the Growth and Economic Opportunities for Women (GrOW) programme, speakers at this event will address these questions and challenge understandings of women’s economic empowerment that neglect the issue of care. Researchers will provide recent evidence from the field on the everyday challenges women face in balancing their paid and unpaid work.

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