Women’s economic empowerment


Women around the world participate in labour markets on an unequal basis with men, and often have to rely on men for access to basic financial services. Around two billion people don’t use formal financial services, and more than 50 percent of adults in the poorest households do not have bank accounts. The majority of the world’s unbanked people are women. 

Supporting women's entry into the formal economy

Financial inclusion is a key enabler for reducing poverty and boosting prosperity. World Bank Group President Dr. Jim Yong Kim has called for Universal Financial Access (UFA) by 2020. The Sustainable Development Goals similarly highlight the importance of women’s equal access to and control over economic resources to their empowerment and broader development outcomes. Investments in women’s economic empowerment can help deliver deep and lasting change for women and their communities. 

Download CARE Canada's Women's Economic Empowerment policy brief [PDF]


The following recommendations are aimed at strengthening the structures, capacities, policies and financing that will allow the Government of Canada to promote women’s economic integration, education and self-reliance around the world:

  1. The Government of Canada should adopt a holistic strategy to strengthen women’s agency and financial decision-making in the home and wider community, including by working with banks, national governments and financial regulators to address policy and regulatory barriers preventing women’s access to financial products, services, and education.

  2. The Government of Canada should work with development partners to reduce gender-specific barriers to women’s entrepreneurship and workforce participation, and to support women-led enterprises.

  3. The Government of Canada should support organized labour, encourage factory owners and business leaders to improve standards, and challenge gendered social and cultural norms about work.

  4. The Government of Canada should work with the International Labour Organization and G7 countries to strengthen job creation, skills development and the establishment of social protection and safety nets around the world.