Women’s Economic Empowerment through Gender Transformative Approaches – Evidence from CARE’s Experience in Middle East & North Africa
Publication Date: 04/09/2019
CARE defines women’s economic empowerment (WEE) as the process by which women increase their right to economic resources and the power to make decisions that benefit themselves, their families and their communities. Our Theory of Change (as discussed in CARE’s WEE Strategy Document) outlines three conditions necessary for genuine and sustainable economic empowerment for women: increased capabilities, decision-making power and an enabling environment. An integrated approach across all three conditions is required to achieve genuine and sustainable change. Increasing individual women’s capabilities can lead to temporary increases in their economic opportunities and income. However, women’s economic empowerment can only be achieved through also transforming unequal power relations and discriminatory structures.
This Learning Brief is created to provide practical learning and present existing tools applied by CARE Country Offices (COs) in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to encourage a more gender transformative approach to WEE and livelihood programming. This is highly relevant for practicioners from the whole sector working on economic empowerment and livelihood porgramming in fragile settings anywhere in the world. This document can aid a better understanding of gender transformative concepts by livelihood staff, as well as better understanding of the principles of sound economic empowerment by gender staff. This Learning Brief contains many practical insights and allows practicioners to understand how theory and frameworks can have an impact on the actual programming and results on the ground. The Hub encourages teams and practicioners to use this Brief, and the different overviews and examples provided, to reflect on their own work on gender integration, and take steps to move beyond gender responsive programming towards a truly transformative approach for our impact groups.
Learning insights incorporated in the document are based on the learning accumulated by CARE MENA Country Offices (COs) in the last five years under our women’s economic empowerment/livelihood programming. It focuses on two main components of WEE gender transformative programming: economic advancement and gender equality, along with approaches related to engaging men and boys. The evidence of these lessons learned is based on: 1) revision of documentation of more than 12 long term and short term WEE/livelihood programs implemented by CARE in Jordan, Syria, Egypt, West Bank & Gaza, Caucasus and the Balkans, 2) interviews with key informants including gender champions from these COs along with other global CARE gender experts who collectively searched for answers to questions in the themes of gender transformative approaches in WEE programming.