Investing in women is recognized not only as the right thing to do but also the smart thing to do. Mounting evidence demonstrates that increases in women’s income lead to improvements in children’s health, nutrition and education. But more rigorous evaluation of projects aimed at women’s economic development is crucial to maintain their support and apply lessons learned to future projects. To address this need, ICRW is working with UNIFEM and the World Bank to demonstrate and measure the impact of women’s economic development programs on women’s empowerment and broader development goals.
The Results-based Initiative is implementing six innovative projects aimed at increasing women’s economic capacity. The projects include providing time-saving technology to bamboo handicraft producers in Laos and Cambodia and business support services to women micro-entrepreneurs in Peru. ICRW, with local partners, will measure the projects’ impact on women’s decision-making capabilities, control over resources, personal security and autonomy. ICRW anticipates that the resulting best practices and lessons learned will generate further action on women’s economic empowerment as a priority area for development programs overall.