A Roadmap for Promoting Women's Economic Empowerment

Research has demonstrated that when women are economically empowered, entire communities benefit. Yet until now, there has been a crucial knowledge gap regarding the most effective interventions to advance women's economic opportunities. To address this gap, the UN Foundation and the ExxonMobil Foundation joined forces to develop A Roadmap for Promoting Women's Economic Empowerment. The report identifies interventions that are proven, promising or have a high potential to increase productivity and earnings for different groups of women in diverse country contexts. The complementary Measuring Women's Economic Empowerment report summarizes recommended measures to assess direct, intermediate, and final outcomes of women's economic empowerment programs.




A Roadmap for Promoting Women's Economic Empowerment

Eighteen research studies were commissioned to help identify the most effective interventions to empower women economically across four categories of employment – entrepreneurship, farming, wage employment and young women's employment. Some of the commissioned studies conducted new data analyses while others reviewed existing evidence – analyzing available evidence on the effectiveness, cost-effectiveness and sustainability of programs. The project includes a total of 136 published empirical evaluations.

The research shows that programs must be targeted depending on particular economic and country contexts. Many of the programs identified are simple, cost effective and scalable, with the potential to benefit a significant number of women.


Measuring Women's Economic Empowerment

Building on the results of the Roadmap report (2013), the United Nations Foundation and the ExxonMobil Foundation commissioned five expert researchers to produce independent think pieces on distinct measurement topics. In 2014, the Foundations convened the researchers to discuss their recommendations and identify a common set of widely applicable outcome measures across two categories: urban women entrepreneurs and business leaders, and rural women entrepreneurs and farmers.

Roadmap Highlights Report

Roadmap Full Report

Measurement Report

Empirical Evaluations Database



The Roadmap for Action

A Tool for Funders, Practitioners and Policymakers to Promote Women’s Economic Empowerment

The Roadmap for Action provides a graphical representation of the key findings from the report on what works, for whom and where, to promote women’s economic empowerment.

LEARN MORE Roadmap for Action



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A Conversation with Mayra Buvinic