Devex and partners launch campaign to celebrate women and development

Nayna Patra, third from left, a ward member in the Indian state of Odisha, joins members of a self-help women's group she helped to start in Maluagoda village. The group enables women to mobilize on issues ignored by local government. Photo by: U.N. Women / Gaganjit Singh / CC BY-NC-ND

The international community has, for decades, talked about the vital role women play in achieving our most valued social, economic and environmental goals.

Success stories are everywhere, and countless organizations have found innovative ways to promote social inclusion and integrate gender programming into their operations. But still, despite notable gains, progress at the intersection of women and development remains unsteady.

Some internationally agreed-upon targets, like those related to maternal health or primary education, were established to focus directly on eliminating the barriers to social equality for women and girls. Others, like those on economic growth, transitions from conflict to peace and environmental sustainability, are best realized when women are included in decision-making processes in the public, private and nonprofit sectors.

The conversation about women and development is evolving.

For emerging economies to create inclusive growth, women must have the right to own businesses. For equality in education to create pathways to real jobs, women and girls need advocates, role models and mentors to help them along the way. And for the movement toward more inclusive, gender-equal societies around the world to take hold, the international development community needs to move beyond women-focused niche programming.

That’s why on March 8 — International Women’s Day — Devex is launching “She Builds,” a campaign to drive the conversation about women and development forward and provide a dedicated platform for leading organizations to pose big questions, offer new solutions and spark real collaboration to work more effectively than ever before.

To make this happen, Devex is partnering with donor agencies and organizations working every day to advance opportunities for women and girls: Chemonics, Creative AssociatesJBS International as well as the Millennium Challenge Corp., U.K. Department for International Development and United Nations Office for Project Services.

She Builds: Innovative solutions and thought leadership at the intersection of women and development

These institutions have made women and development a top priority, and they have reinvigorated their own programs by recognizing the vital role women can and must play as leaders, planners and builders of our common future. Together, we’ll help ensure the spotlight stays on women and development long after the sun has set on International Women’s Day.

Over the next four weeks, our She Builds campaign will focus on four themes: She Builds Communities, She Builds Economies, She Builds Innovations, and She Builds the Future.

Each week, we’ll feature stories, advice, commentary and must-reads that showcase the best of what’s happening — and what needs to happen — at the intersection of women and development.

At Devex, our greatest asset is our global network of members, the largest online community of leading international development organizations and professionals — the thinkers, organizers and advocates working hard every day to make our world a better place.

That network and community allows us to go beyond politically correct rhetoric and gain insight into the challenges and opportunities, struggles and triumphs of people creating change on the ground. We want to share some of these lessons to help others design, implement and evaluate their work and ultimately, increase their impact.

Throughout our month-long She Builds campaign, we’ll explore questions like: Should organizations working at the intersection of women and development look for ways to be more specialized? How can for-profit companies relocate gender programs from side projects to core business practices? What kind of leadership is required to move beyond “check-the-box” mainstreaming toward integrating gender equality and economic growth? And how can the development community collaborate better to ensure one initiative doesn’t undermine another’s success?

Want to learn more? Check out She Builds and tweet us using #SheBuilds.

She Builds is a month-long conversation hosted by Devex in partnership with Chemonics, Creative Associates, JBS International, the Millennium Challenge Corp., United Nations Office for Project Services and U.K. Department for International Development.

About the author

  • Michael Igoe

    Michael Igoe is a Senior Reporter with Devex, based in Washington, D.C. He covers U.S. foreign aid, global health, climate change, and development finance. Prior to joining Devex, Michael researched water management and climate change adaptation in post-Soviet Central Asia, where he also wrote for EurasiaNet. Michael earned his bachelor's degree from Bowdoin College, where he majored in Russian, and his master’s degree from the University of Montana, where he studied international conservation and development.