From Participation to Power


For economic empowerment to meaningfully improve women’s lives and progress gender equality, it must involve some change in their ability to exercise power. Without consideration for the power dynamics within women’s homes and communities, economic development initiatives can
reinforce existing inequalities.

Progressing Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) has the potential to greatly enhance women’s quality of life, as well as that of their families and communities. However, economic participation will not automatically lead to empowerment and economic equality with men. For economic development initiatives to meaningfully advance the ‘empowerment’ element of WEE, it is critical to address gendered power dynamics, including agency, voice, violence, financial control, women’s time and care responsibilities, and opportunities for collectives and mutual support building.

This Practice Note considers what works to build women’s economic empowerment in the Pacific region, drawing on nearly 10 years of the Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development (Pacific Women) program, one of the largest, sustained aid commitments to gender equality in the world.

Research Type(s)
Report – Peer reviewed
June 22, 2023
Published in
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