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Womens economic empowerment

Renu Bala, President of the Panjhorvanga Dairy Enterprise (Credit: Abir Abdullah/Oxfam)

At a glance

Seeking to change economic systems that systematically discriminate against women so that economic development contributes to gender justice.


Our work enables more women to gain power in markets, benefit from decent work, participate in economic decision-making and influence, and benefit from improved economic systems and social norms that do not discriminate against women.

Women's economic empowerment is fundamental to women's ability to move out and stay out of poverty. Oxfam's work seeks to change economic systems (thinking, practices, roles, policies) that systematically discriminate against women, in order that economic development contributes sustainably to gender justice. But women's economic empowerment is more than a question of material resources; it is also fundamental to women's ability to enjoy all other human rights. It is vital if they are to be able to participate in decision-making and development; to enjoy decent work for decent and equal pay; to reduce and share heavy care responsibilities; and to resource and sustain local actions and networks for change. Oxfam's women's economic empowerment work is therefore anchored in relation to those broader empowerment issues and to the wider structural change we seek for women in our gender justice approach.

UN High Level Panel on Women's Economic Empowerment

Oxfam International's Executive Director, Winnie Byanyima is a member of the UN High Level Panel on Women's Economic Empowerment.  The Panel seeks to mobilize concrete actions aimed at closing economic gender gaps that persist around the world, in order to achieve Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. In September 2016, the Panel presented their first report to the UN Secretary General - 'Leave No-one Behind: A call to Action for Gender Equality and Women's Economic Empowerment'.

"Women's economic empowerment is not limited to decent employment and income for women. It requires removing barriers in the market and public institutions to redistribute women's unpaid care, deliver women's security and agency, recognizing that social norms primarily limit what is considered women's work and their role in society."

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