SUMMARY ‘Despite important progress in promoting gender equality, there remains an urgent need to address structural barriers to women’s economic empowerment and full inclusion in economic activity…If the world is to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, we need a quantum leap in women’s economic empowerment.’1
– UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, January 2016
‘Women had no voice in this community. They had no right to join other women. The co-op has changed women’s lives in this community. They [men] saw us being self reliant – bringing home money, bringing sugar for porridge, they have really changed their mindset on women.’
– Flonira Mukamana, member of COPAPF women’s cooperative in Kinigi sector, Musanze District, Northern Rwanda.
Women’s economic empowerment requires the creation of decent, quality work opportunities with fair pay, and an increase in women’s decision making power.2 It is vital for fulfilling women’s rights, reducing poverty and achieving broader development goals. To end extreme poverty will take much more than just money. But gender inequality in the economy costs women in developing countries $9 trillion a year3 – a sum which would not only benefit women but would unleash new spending power across communities and provide a massive boost to the economy as a whole.