The United Nations Foundation and ExxonMobil Foundation joined forces in early 2012 to create a roadmap to catalyze program and policy action for women’s economic empowerment. UN Foundation has invested millions of dollars and years of focus on enhancing the lives of women in developing countries. This new research builds on our shared interests and expertise and engages partners across the research and program communities in a one-year initiative focused on producing rigorous and practical recommendations for action.
The studies investigate, and the Roadmap will provide answers to practical questions such as: What is required for very small, subsistence level female owned firms to grow? What does the evidence say about the impact of business management training for female owned micro and SME firms? Which interventions are proven or show promise for increasing rural women’s productivity and earnings? What are the characteristics of successful women farmers producing high value crops in agriculture? Which childcare programs work best for employed mothers? Which financial services help poor women increase their productivity and earnings most effectively? How should they be best designed? Which interventions are most promising in helping young women find employment?
In 2014, the initiative expanded to include work on measurement. Through the process of developing the Roadmap, it became clear that many studies were utilizing different outcome measures, making it difficult to compare outcomes across studies and thus build the global body of evidence. To address this, Measuring Women's Economic Empowerment, published in June 2015 as a companion to the Roadmap report, summarizes recommended measures to assess direct, intermediate, and final outcomes of women's economic empowerment programs. Outcomes of interest are women's increased productivity, income, and well-being