Research has found strong reasons to emphasise women’s economic empowerment in developing programs: firstly, economic empowerment is one of the most powerful routes for women to achieve their potential and advance their rights; secondly, since women make up the majority of the world’s poor, meeting poverty-reduction goals requires addressing women and their economic empowerment; thirdly, discrimination against women is economically inefficient and national economies lose out when a substantial part of the population cannot complete equitably or realise its full potential; moreover, working with women makes good business sense: when women have the rights skills and opportunities, they can help business and markets grow; finally, women who are economically empowered contribute more to their families, societies and national economies. It has been shown that women invest extra income in their children, providing a route to sustainable development.
Brussels Briefing 42: "Women entrepreneurs - key players in ACP agribusiness development"
Women make significant contributions to the rural economy in all regions of the world. In developing countries, women make up on average about 40% of the labour force, ranging from 20% in Latin America to 50% or more in certain parts of Africa and Asia. Women’s role range from being cultivators on their own or other’s plots-as unpaid or paid workers, employers or employees-to being wage-labourers in on- and off-farm enterprises, alongside their key role as providers of unpaid care work in their households and communities.
However, in many settings women face more constraints than men in accessing key productive resources such as land and to services such as credit, extension and social protection; they face wage discrimination in rural labour markets and often work without remuneration on family farms. This limits their capacity to contribute to agricultural production and take advantage of new opportunities.
To improve information sharing and promote networking, CTA, the DG DEVCO from the European Commission, the ACP Secretariat, Concord and various media organise bimonthly briefings on key issues and challenges for rural development in the context of EU/ACP cooperation. The Briefing discusses the key challenges and new opportunities to enhance women’s led agribusiness. The Briefing:
- reviews women’s entrepreneurs successes and the lessons learned from research and practice;
- promotes the exchange of information on best practices and drivers of success;
- feeds into the debate various perspectives on policy options.
The Commission's Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO) is responsible for designing European international cooperation and development policy and delivering aid throughout the world. DG DEVCO is in charge of development cooperation policy in a wider framework of international cooperation, adapting to the evolving needs of partner countries. This encompasses cooperation with developing countries at different stages of development, including with countries graduated from bilateral development assistance to cover the specific needs of these countries during the transition period between low-income countries and upper middle-income countries. DG DEVCO works closely with other Commission services responsible for thematic policies, as well as with the European External Action Service and Commission services on external action, so as to facilitate and help ensure a consistent approach.
The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) is a joint international institution of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States and the European Union (EU). Its mission is to advance food security, resilience and inclusive economic growth in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific through innovations in sustainable agriculture. CTA operates under the framework of the Cotonou Agreement and is funded by the EU.