Women’s paid work has featured in the development literature for two main reasons. The instrumental reason relates to its potential to contribute to make a variety of development goals, from poverty reduction to human development to economic growth. The intrinsic reason is its potential to transform the lives of women and girls by addressing gender inequalities on a wide variety of fronts.
However in both cases, paid work is most likely to achieve this potential if it empowers women; since it is women’s capacity to exercise voice and influence in the key arenas of their lives that provides the impetus for change. It was this rationale that provided the point of departure for Pathways research into the empowerment potential of paid work for women.