SOAS University of London

Department of Development Studies

Women's economic empowerment, labour markets, entrepreneurship and inclusive growth: towards a research agenda

Concerns with women’s empowerment have their roots in grassroots mobilisations across the world and have always had a focus on the material dimensions of women’s subordination. The idea of women’s economic empowerment speaks directly to this set of concerns   and has become increasingly prominent in the international policy discourse. However, debates continue as to what it means and how it can be promoted in different contexts. 

Recent evidence suggests that while greater gender equality in employment and education contributes directly to economic growth, economic growth is most likely to promote gender equality across different spheres of women’s lives if it is accompanied by expansion in women’s labour market and educational opportunities. In other words, growth is unlikely to be inclusive if it does not expand the economic options available to women.

The International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in Canada and the Department of International Development (DFID) convened an expert meeting (26th-27th January, 2012), organised by the Department of Development Studies, SOAS, to discuss these questions. 


The presentations from the workshop are available below. Other material will be uploaded as it becomes available.   

  1. Introduction & Agenda (pdf; 274kb)  
  2. Workshop Objectives
  3. Opening Address: Women’s economic empowerment and inclusive growth: labour markets and enterprise development
  4. Macroeconomics, Gender, and Labour Markets (Slides / Presentation)
  5. Gender, Labour, and Self Employment in India
  6. Gender, Labour, and Inclusive Growth in China
  7. Women's Entrepreneurship in the Middle East & North Africa
  8. Gender Justice at Work as a Public Good
  9. Myths and Reality in the Informal Economy
  10. Women's Economic Empowerment in Latin America
  11. Growth & Labour Markets in Low Income Countries
  12. Private Enterprise Development in Low Income Countries
  13. Women's economic empowerment labour markets and inclusive growth