The Reports

A Roadmap for Promoting Women’s Economic Empowerment, published in September 2013, summarizes the findings of 18 research efforts commissioned specifically for this project across four categories of employment – entrepreneurship, farming, wage employment and young women's employment. Some conducted new data analysis while others reviewed the existing evidence. The commissions analyzed effectiveness, cost-effectiveness and sustainability of the programs when this information was available. 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 tailored to the needs of women clients and the context in which they live. Many of the programs identified are simple, cost effective and scalable, with the potential to benefit a significant number of women.

In 2014, the Initiative expanded to include work on measurement. Through the process of developing the Roadmap, it became clear that many studies were utilizing different outcome measures, making it difficult to compare outcomes across studies and thus build the global body of evidence. To address this, Measuring Women's Economic Empowerment, a companion to the Roadmap report published in June 2015, summarizes recommended measures to assess direct, intermediate, and final outcomes of women's economic empowerment programs. Outcomes of interest are women's increased productivity, income, and well-being.

Roadmap Highlights Report

Roadmap Full Report

Roadmap Executive Summary in Spanish

Roadmap Executive Summary in French

*NEW* Measurement Report

Read more about the 18 Roadmap research commissions and the key lessons learned here:

  • Entrepreneurship

    Entrepreneurship is a significant source of women’s economic opportunity – employment and income generation – for both urban and rural women in low-income countries. Women entrepreneurs may participate in a wide range of activities, from undertaking income generation projects in their homes, to... View research commissions

  • Farming

    Farming has always been a key occupation for women in developing countries. But most female farmers produce food crops for home consumption rather than cash crops. In recent decades, women’s presence in farming has only continued to grow with the increased importance of agro processing and... View research commissions

  • Wage Employment

    Women are under-represented in wage and salaried employment in low- and lower-middle- income countries. For very poor women who lack the basic assets or tools needed to be self-employed, reasonably paid wage labor outside of the home is often a preferred job option. The key, however, is... View research commissions

  • Young Women's Employment

    For most of the developing world, growing levels of female school attendance, combined with low labor force participation, suggest that young women have a more difficult transition from school to work than young men. In 2011, between 47 percent and 72 percent of young women aged 15 to 24 in low-... View research commissions