In many regions of the world, women have very limited access to financial or technical assets. Owning property (tools, livestock, land, jewelry), controlling money (having a personal bank account), and making independent decisions about resource use are important leverage points for empowerment. Women’s contributions are often un-compensated, but when they are, women can powerfully affect the well-being of their families and communities.
The Income & Assets method enables project developers to measure how a project increases income and assets that are accessible to or controlled by women. Examples of assets may be money, jewelry, land, trees, livestock, or equipment. Additionally, the provision of legal rights to women, including that of citizenship and the right to own land, can be essential to women’s empowerment.
“While women make up 66 percent of the labor force in urban areas of developing countries, they account for only 10 percent of income. Research clearly shows that when women’s incomes go up, the additional income goes directly to increasing household consumption and therefore into the overall economy, while increases in men’s income more often go into personal consumption. In addition, it is well established that the availability of secure property rights drives economic development through investment in property improvements, increased manufacturing and purchasing on wholesale and retail markets, access to better employment opportunities, and improved health and education.” (Carol S. Rabenhorst & Anjali Bean, July 2011, A Critical Issue in Urban Economic Development prepared for: the International Housing Coalition and the Urban Institute)
Corporate investments such as the GoldmanSachs 10,000 Women Initiative and similar efforts bring needed attention to the vast but under-developed social and economic potential of women. The Income & Assets methodology will enable measurable and verifiable improvements in access to resources and control of earned assets by women in project communities.
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