This report outlines key lessons learned from the Global Fund's three-year economic opportunity initiative. The Global Fund has found that the most effective interventions for women's economic empowerment are those efforts that iterate explicit objectives that go beyond income generation. Women's rights organizations recognize the need to address systemic gender discrimination in order for women to succeed in achieving greater economic and social equity. Taking a holistic approach to women's empowerment, grantees frequently use economic activities to leverage changes in other areas of concern. Additional programs promote women's literacy, reproductive rights and family planning, health and nutrition, legal literacy, leadership training, political participation and environmental education. Overall, the Global Fund's EOI grants employed three key strategies: 1. Income-Generating Activities: programs that directly increase women's income; 2. Skills Training: training that prepares women for the labor market or training for entrepreneurs; 3. Labor Rights Advocacy: organizing efforts to protect workers from exploitation and/or increase their influence on economic policies.
- Providing women with access to information on their rights and building self-esteem helps reverse their lack of power and economic independence in the home.
- Creating access to credit, skills training and economic literacy enables women to successfully run their monetary affairs.
- Linking women to local providers of technical assistance and business expertise ensures the long-term sustainability of their economic ventures.
- Educating men about the value of improving the status of women and girls in the family and society can engage men in the advancement of female family members.
- Supporting women's labor rights organizing and policy advocacy helps challenge the harmful effects of the rapid expansion of free markets.
- Supporting related programs in the following areas recognizes the complexity of women's lives and yields more effective outcomes: Property and inheritance rights; Domestic violence prevention and treatment; Childcare and girls' education; Family planning and maternal health care; Disaster prevention, and; Community/business/government awareness of women's rights.