Beyond participation: making enterprise development really work for women

Publication date

23 Mar 2012

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Oxfam has been involved in sustainable livelihoods and enterprise development since the 1960s, gaining practical experience in setting up businesses that deliver social as well as economic development. Since we believe that gender inequality is one of the greatest barriers to poverty eradication worldwide, over the last three years we have been piloting an innovative Enterprise Development Programme (EDP) – a unique initiative that uses a business approach to create wealth, and deliver economic growth, while increasing women's power in markets and wider society. This article outlines the reasons why Oxfam is encouraging this type of investment in rural Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), the importance of promoting the role of women in enterprise development, and some of the successes and challenges faced by the EDP so far. We hope that the lessons that we have learned will help and inspire other international development practitioners to support and invest in SMEs that work for women. This article is hosted by our co-publisher Taylor & Francis. For the full table of contents for this and previous issues of this journal, please visit the Gender and Development website.