Women´s Economic Empowerment means that women have the skills and resources to improve their economic status and move out of poverty. In addition, it means that women and girls can decide on how to utilize their income and other resources and/or jointly make those decisions. Women´s Economic Empowerment increases women’s access to economic resources and opportunities including jobs, financial services, property and other productive assets, skills development, and market information.
Women´s Social Empowerment refers to the ability of women and girls to act individually and collectively to change social relationships and the institutions and discourses that exclude them and keep them in poverty. At home, this for instance involves the ability of women to decide and discuss with their partner whether or not to use contraceptives. Outside their home, it means that women and girls can build positive relationships, participate in social activities and decision making, without being restricted by gender norms.
Women & Girls
RET is focusing its interventions on enabling and empowering women and young girls through a variety of holistic, multi-sectoral approaches as women and young girls represent the most vulnerable population during crises and the greatest agents of positive change. Women can be head of their households and the primary source of economic support for their families.
Economically empowering women and young women offers an effective and sustainable way of ensuring economic growth reaches the most vulnerable and that economic development is inclusive. A growing body of evidence shows that placing women in the center of the development agenda can increase efficiency in the management of institutions and resources.
Why is it important?
Women’s economic empowerment is central to realizing women’s rights and gender equality. Empowering women in the economy and closing gender gaps are key to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. However, gender gaps in economic development and livelihoods continue to be a barrier to women´s socio-economic empowerment and these gender gaps are well-documented:
- In most countries women do more unpaid work, including domestic and care work, limiting women’s ability to enter and progress in the labour market. (OECD, The Pursuit of Gender Equality, 2017)
- According to the World Bank, globally, over 2.7 billion women are legally restricted from having the same choice of jobs as men.
- In 18 countries, husbands can legally prevent their wives from working;
- Women’s access to economic opportunities is undermined by their lower access to production inputs.
- Access to productive assets constrains women’s economic opportunities, whether women farmers or micro-entrepreneurs
- Female farmers have less access to information, as agricultural extension networks are dominated by men.
- Throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, women are disproportionately limited in their land ownership and transfer rights.
RET believes women’s economic empowerment is central to realizing women’s rights and empowering women in the economy is key to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. According to the IMF, when more women work, economies grow. Women’s economic empowerment boosts productivity increases economic diversification and income equality in addition to other positive development outcomes.
How does RET help?
With the purpose of responding to the socio-economic needs of vulnerable young women and women, RET has been providing socio-economic empowerment interventions to support vulnerable women all over the world. RET´s interventions work across the triple nexus supporting inclusive economic growth through the full, equal, and safe participation of women and young people in society and the economy in order to help them lead their own journey towards prosperous livelihoods and self-reliance.
RET is committed to aligning all its programs to the Sphere`s Humanitarian Standards, the Minimum Economic Recovery Standards (MERS), and the IASC Gender Handbook in Humanitarian Action. RET is also fully committed to supporting Sustainable Development Goal 5: Achieve Gender Equality and Empower All Women and Girls, to ensure women and girls have equal access to education, health care, decent work, and representation in political and economic decision-making processes particularly during times of crisis and in fragile contexts. RET is also committed to supporting Sustainable Development Goal 8 “Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all” by enhancing the socio-economic empowerment and self-reliance of women and when relevant of their families.
RET´s interventions are tailored according to the context, the legal restrictions to work, the cultural and social norms, the age and the profile of concerned women. However, some key principles and program components are core to each of RET intervention.
• Using a gender and conflict sensitive holistic approach, RET provides a combination of technical training workshops coupled with individual mentoring and follow up approach. The training includes Entrepreneurship, Social Entrepreneurship, Business Opportunities, Marketing and Product Design Sessions for both, refugees, and local women. Additionally, the program provides awareness raising sessions on SGBV and SRH issues after which women can also access to individual counseling, psychosocial support, and when needed referrals mechanism. Finally, they are also exposed to cultural and social activities.
• RET has a holistic multi-sectorial approach to the socio-economic empowerment, and social cohesion of vulnerable women to strengthen their resilience and their self-reliance. The holistic aspect of RET’s interventions has allowed it to address different dimensions of a woman’s life. As such, RET’s programs are not only about training on specific job/ business-related skills, but also focus on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) and issues around Gender-Based Violence (GBV), as well as child-care issues. The programs also ensure access or referral to psychological and legal services when needed and ensures individualized follow-up to guarantee the continued engagement of concerned women. The types of vocational workshops are selected after a thorough needs assessment and feasibility study realized by
RET to identify the demands of marketplace. As a result, refugee and host community women produce natural, sustainable, handmade, and innovative products that are of top quality with professional packaging.
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