Women’s Empowerment

Women unlimited

Women’s empowerment ensures that women and girls have control over their lives and are able to participate actively in social, political and economic domains. It is about realizing true equality for men and women.

Our context

Taking stock of the position of women worldwide, the good news is that the numbers of countries creating a more supportive environment by adopting anti-discrimination policies is on the increase. They are also taking affirmative action towards legal quotas for women, and the number of employed women is rising.

The bad news is that the majority of women still work in informal jobs, under poor working conditions and without earning a living wage. The same holds true for women’s participation in politics: more women are participating, but still far fewer than men, and hardly any of them in leading positions. In part this is due to the slow change in men’s attitudes towards female leadership and economic empowerment.

The majority of women still work in informal jobs, under poor working conditions and without earning a living wage

Our aim

Hivos strives for a world where women are economically independent and have decision-making power. Hivos therefore wants women entrepreneurs and low-income women laborers to be economically independent and have direct access to business markets and decent work – not just any form of employment. We also aim to see women participate meaningfully in subnational political processes and public administration.

Our approach

In line with our three-step approach, we support the initiatives of daring feminist activists and women’s organizations, women entrepreneurs, women leaders, and organizations that contribute to economic or political transformations that improve the position of women. We engage with governments, companies and citizens – men as well as women – to have them recognize and support women’s leadership in decision-making processes within their institutions.

Furthermore, we stimulate businesses and certification bodies to implement recommendations for better labor conditions for women.

Our contribution

This thematic area contributes to Sustainable Development Goal 5 (Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls) and Goal 8 (Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all).