PoWER Study: Participation of women in the economy realized

In 2017, United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), developed a global initiative on the economic empowerment of women and girls called the “Participation of Women in the Economy Realized” (PoWER).  PoWER begins in each country by conducting a country-level diagnostic the results of which are used to develop detailed programming plans to directly address women’s economic empowerment.  The diagnostic is a mixed-methods approach combining qualitative and quantitative insights which supports the identification of country specific constraints that women and girls face.  The resulting synthesis of findings forms country level recommendations for action which can be implemented by PFIP in the future.  The toolkit was developed as a public good with the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and has been piloted in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Myanmar, Senegal and Tanzania to develop the PoWER diagnostic and programme implementation plan.

Women and girls face barriers in the enabling environment, in the supply of and in their demand for financial products and services, as well as in their socio-cultural context. To address these challenges, UNCDF has developed a global strategy on women’s economic participation and empowerment called Participation of Women in the Economy Realized (PoWER). As part of this strategy, UNCDF has developed a country diagnostic to evaluate access, usage and agency over financial services in ways that contribute to the greater economic empowerment for women and girls.

In 2019, the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme conducted the diagnostic in Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea, examining demand and supply-side barriers, as well as ecosystem constraints. These research highlights share evidence collected from desk research, key informant interviews, focus group discussions and a survey of women and girls.