We know that poor women need to see a change in existing power relations and gain agency and power, and to exert influence over the political, economic and social processes that determine and, all too often, constrain their livelihood opportunities (OECD, 2012). And yet, though there is a substantial body of work on women’s economic empowerment as a whole, much of this is not disaggregated by the intersecting inequalities that magnify poverty and inequality.
Meanwhile, the policies frequently pursued to alter macro-level or structural constraints, such as those focusing on constitutional and legal reform (including anti-discrimination legislation); institutional or regulatory reform (including reforms seeking financial inclusion); or encouraging enterprise, may not quickly change conditions for chronically poor women. This is because they need enabling changes at the structural or macro level, alongside targeted interventions to counter their specific binding constraints.
This paper focuses on the economic empowerment of chronically poor women and girls.