Results-Based Initiatives

A growing body of evidence suggests that gender equality fuels thriving economies. When women can find decent jobs and acquire assets, they earn incomes and accumulate savings to help themselves and their families. The pool of human resources, talents and economic contributions expands, spurring productivity and growth. Feminized poverty declines.

Less is known about which interventions are most effective in advancing women’s economic empowerment and rights. Making this determination requires careful experimentation and the scrutiny of rigorous measurement. Clear understanding of what works best is critical for mobilizing political and financial support for women’s economic roles, and for wisely investing resources.

Proving What Works

The Results-Based Initiatives (RBIs) pilot innovative programmes that support and measure women’s economic empowerment. They cover a range of core issues, such as strengthening women’s entrepreneurship and access to markets, linking agricultural productivity and food security, and making gender central to private sector human resources management.

Each RBI has two parts. The first involves implementing interventions that can be replicated and scaled up, yield results in a short time and have high potential benefits for participating women. The second component entails designing and undertaking a rigorous impact evaluation.

The RBI concept is premised on strong partnerships. These involve government agencies, donors, development agencies and civil society organizations. UN Women collaborates with counterparts in six countries to implement the RBIs, using funding from the World Bank Group’s Development Grant Facility. The International Centre for Research on Women (ICRW) conducts the impact evaluations.

What If… Women Had More Economic Options?

Early results from the RBIs suggest that:

  • Kenyan women could expand their incomes and drive forward a flourishing small business sector. Under the RBI Strengthening Export Competitiveness of Women Bead Workers, 850 Maasai women producers of traditional beadwork are cultivating entrepreneurial skills to build their export competitiveness. Success is measured by increased orders and profits, and expansion to new markets.
  • Peruvian women could use property rights to access formal credit, a cornerstone of small business growth. Strengthening the Economic Empowerment of Women Urban Property Owners helps women acquire new business and financial management skills. Success is measured by improved access to credit and increases through business innovations.
  • Women bamboo handicraft producers in Cambodia and Lao PDR could track market trends to make their businesses more lucrative. Improving Bamboo Handicraft Value Chains for Women’s Economic Empowerment introduces technology to manage market information and spur productivity, measured by increased productive capacity and higher product prices.
  • Egyptian women could enjoy better working conditions and career opportunities. The RBI Gender Equity Model Egypt is partnering with 10 private sector firms to make gender equity policies central to human resources management, with a goal of increasing productivity and improving work conditions. Success is measured through reduced gender gaps in pay, hiring and promotion.
  • Liberian women could improve cassava production practices and provide food security. In Nimba county, 500 women cassava producers are working through the RBI Value-Added Cassava Enterprise for the Ganta Concern Women’s Group to boost cassava production. New processing, marketing and management skills aim to sustain profitable businesses, measured through increased incomes and yields.