In recent years, increased awareness that empowering women is “good for business” has spurred the private and public sectors to invest significant resources in programmes that aim to support women’s and girls’ economic empowerment.
According to the Dalberg Global Development Advisors (Dalberg) and the International Center for Research on Women: “The majority of these programmes aim to expand women’s employment opportunities, training and access to finance. However, for a woman to be economically empowered, she needs both the ability to succeed economically and the power to act on economic decisions.” Without addressing the social barriers to women’s economic advancement (lack of access to sexual and reproductive health and rights, gender-based violence, lack of political representation and influence), these programmes will not succeed.
Research says that programmes should focus on an integrated approach, based on a human rights framework, that creates an enabling environment and provides training, employment and financial support. Women Win believes that the leadership development of adolescent girls is a vital part of this integrated approach. Without the ability for adolescent girls and young women to confidently stand up, use their voice, and drive change in their own lives and in the community, financial literacy and employability training will only go so far. Their leadership in formal and informal decision-making processes is necessary to address the barriers related to their own advancement, and create an enabling environment where they can fully take advantage of economic opportunities.
 “The Business Case for Women’s Economic Empowerment: An Integrated Approach.” 2014