General economic information

Market Access for the poor




Update 2015

Annette Evertzen





General economic information



First two annotated bibliographies:


Bell, Emma; Brambilla, Paola.

Gender and economic globalisation. An annotated bibliography. Brighton: BRIDGE, 2002 (Bibliography 12).

This bibliography focuses on the economic aspects of globalisation and the impact on gender relations.

The texts are divided into three main sections: the impact of globalisation; trade agreements, policy and financial institutions; and responses to globalisation. The overview combines a focus on the impacts of globalisation with trade agreements, policy and financial institutions as the later influences the former. The overview then goes on to look at the different responses by the women’s movement and attempts to incorporate gender into theory, policy and practice concerning globalisation. Finally, suggestions for future research are outlined.

Some documents can be found online, and some are in French.


Esplen, Emily; Brody, Alyson.

Putting gender back in the picture. Rethinking women's economic empowerment. Brighton: Bridge, 2007.

Overview and annotated bibliography

The first section of this overview explores the dominant analysis taking hold around women’s economic empowerment and highlights critical issues that remain as yet on the margins of debate and action. It seeks to promote a nuanced understanding of the gendered barriers that prevent some women from benefiting from economic opportunities or from being empowered despite access to these opportunities. It goes on to suggest a practical starting point for overcoming some of these barriers: tackling the ‘double burden’ of paid work and care work that is shouldered by so many women. The second section provides an annotated bibliography of useful, relevant and timely resources related to the issues covered in the overview. Summaries and publication details of each resource are included in the bibliography.



And further:


Morrisson, C. and J. Jutting.

The impact of social institutions on the economic role of women in developing countries.OECD Development Centre, 2004.

This working paper challenges the view that the socio-economic role of women in developing countries will be substantially improved through increased access to education, health, credit, formal legal rights and employment opportunities, in conjunction with economic growth.

Using a newly developed data set, the study undertakes a regional statistical comparison of the impact of social institutions such as laws, norms and traditions on the possibilities of women to participate in economic activities.

Comparing the results for different regions, the paper finds that social institutions, rather than factors such as country income or level of participation in education, constitute the most important single factor determining women's freedom of choice in economic activities.


Riisgaard, l., A.M. Escobar Fibla & S. Ponte

2010     Gender and value chain development. Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Evaluation Department / Danida.


Value chains have become a key concept in international discussions on development, in particular in relation to the effects of globalization on employment and poverty reduction in developing countries. However, knowledge among practitioners and policy makers on the gender aspects of value chain interventions is still limited.

The overall purpose of this study is to examine which gender issues are important when and where in value chains – based on findings of existing evaluations complemented by other relevant studies. The focus in this report is on development interventions that explicitly or implicitly employ a value chain approach. Coverage is not limited to interventions targeting only women, but will also include evaluations and lessons learned from more generic value chain interventions insofar as they address or reflect upon gender issues.


United States Agency for International Development

Promoting gender equitable opportunities in agricultural value chains. A handbook. USAID, 2009.

This handbook is based on research studies and training programs conducted under the Greater Access to Trade Expansion (GATE) Project.

The GATE project developed a suite of resources to provide development practitioners with an understanding of and the tools for addressing gender issues in value chain analysis and development programs.

The Handbook covers conceptual and practical issues for addressing gender in agricultural value chains and is divided into two parts.

§          Part I. Integrating Gender Issues into Value Chain Development. This first part introduces gender issues and their relationship to agricultural value chain development.

§          Part II. A Process for Integrating Gender Issues into Agricultural Value Chains. Part II offers practitioners a five-step process for identifying and evaluating genderbased constraints within agricultural value chains with tools and worksheets for implementing the process.





Business development services



Training guides:


Bauer, Susanne; Finnegan, Gerry; Haspels, Nelien.

GET ahead for women in enterprise training package and resource kit. Bangkok: ILO, 2008

The GET Ahead training package focuses on developing women's confidence, creating a 'business mind', managing people and risks, and grasping opportunities in the business environment.  The training modules include:

Module 1 - Basic on gender and entrepreneurship: promotion of equality between men and women and the life cycle of people and enterprises

Module 2 - The business women and her environment: self-development and business mapping

Module 3 - Business project: business ideas, opportunities and challenges; marketing; production, services and technology; finance

Module 4 - People, organization and management: management of self and others; business support and networking; action planning.


International Labour Organisation.  

Women’s entrepreneurship development capacity building guide. Genève: ILO, 2006.

This guide is designed to meet the needs for documentation to support women's entrepreneurship development. It is aimed at a range of support agencies, including microfinance institutions. The guide provides a systematic guide that can be adapted to a range of contexts. It goes beyond the narrow approach that sees training as the major contribution to women's entrepreneurship development, and introduces a wide range of support mechanisms, including research, networking and association building, market access, and a broad spectrum of business development services. Furthermore, it integrates gender issues into the technical approaches to business development. It also takes account of special situations or target groups where women's entrepreneurship development can be effective, such as women living with HIV/AIDS, women affected by trafficking, women entrepreneurs with disabilities, and refugee women.



And further:


International Center for Research on Women (ICRW)

See how they grow. Business development services for women's business growth. ICRW, 2001.

Report focuses on lessons learned by two organizations – BRAC in Bangladesh and IBEC in South Africa -that provide business development services to women entrepreneurs. Report suggests that business development services can help microenterprises solve their problems by:

The study also makes a case for more demand-driven services which take into account issues, such as domestic and public violence, that constrain business growth for women entrepreneurs. It argues that business development services that are provided to cooperatives or income-generating groups are an effective tool for achieving women's business growth, especially in rural areas. The study also encourages funders to pay attention to the ability of BDS providers to address gender concerns in their grantmaking programs.


Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation

Gender-oriented entrepreneurship promotion. Strategies and tools along the project cycle. Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, 2003.

This manual provides strategies, concrete instruments, and practical examples, to help professionals in the field realize a more gender-balanced approach when implementing micro and small enterprise promotion programs.

The manual is divided into two parts. The first part focuses on the strategies and tools of the WEP project cycle: planning, implementing and monitoring. Planning involves the assessment of the current situation and the future development of key factors. Implementation focuses on the adaptation of the program design to meet women’s specific needs. Monitoring is the last step in the project cycle and is the systematic observation and, if necessary, correction of the implementation progress.

The second part of the manual presents concrete worksheets and forms for practitioners who want to use the tools presented in Part I. Due to the complexity of the topic and the diversity of programs, this manual cannot provide a worksheet or form for every situation. It does discuss useful and replicable ideas, approaches, and instruments for the promotion of women entrepreneurs.







First an annotated bibliography:


Brambilla, Paola.; Bell, Emma; Sever, Charlotte.

Gender and microcredit. Useful resources. Brighton: BRIDGE, 2001 (Report 61).

International development organisations have for the past decade supported small-scale loans and credit in different forms (solidarity-groups, small enterprises, rotating saving schemes). There have been many texts written on the positive and negative long-term and short-term impacts of such projects and programmes, and considerable information on measures to combat gender inequity has been generated.

This is a collection of relevant resources and information about institutions and people working in the field of Microcredit and small loans for women.

This document provides:

·          A bibliography on evaluation-literature. This section is divided into key texts, general texts, guides and case studies categorised according to region. If the text is online a website address has been included.

·         A summary of institutions with experience in the field of microcredit and banking for women, and promotion of small-scale entrepreneurs. Contact details are also listed.




Johnson, S. Gender and microfinance. Guidelines for best practice.



And further:


Boros, A.;  Murray, Ú.;  Sisto, I.

A guide to gender sensitive micro finance. FAO, 2002.

This guide was developed as a practical aid for those involved in microfinance programmes to ensure that socio-economic and gender issues are taken into account when starting or developing a microfinance programme, when designing national policies for microfinance and for disaggregating microfinance markets to find out more about clients. Such an approach can minimise risk and improve efficiency by drawing on lessons learned regarding socio-economic and gender concerns that can help microfinance institutions become sustainable.

The Guide structures questions that can be asked by microfinance intermediaries in attempting to ensure that their operations are gender sensitive. There are suggestions in the Guide for ensuring that policy or macro level microfinance planning is gender sensitive. Questions are also posed for finding out more about gender relations at the microfinance client level. Overall, this Guide should serve as a reference point to ensure that microfinance activities reach their intended socio-economic target group.

            Also in French, Spanish and Portuguese.


Kabeer, N.

Is Microfinance a ‘magic bullet’ for women’s empowerment. Analysis of findings from South Asia.

Economic and Political Weekly, 2006.

This paper examines the empirical evidence on the impact of microfinance with respect to poverty reduction and empowerment of poor women in South Asia. It becomes apparent that while access to financial services can and does make vital contributions to the economic productivity and social well-being of poor women and their households, it does not “automatically” empower women. Like other development interventions such as education, political quotas, etc, that seek to bring about the radical structural transformation that true empowerment entails, microfinance presents a range of possibilities rather than a predetermined set of outcomes. Which of these possibilities are realised in practice will be influenced by a host of factors, including the extent the programmes are tailored to the needs and interests of those they are intended to reach, the nature of the relationships which govern their delivery and the calibre and commitment of the people involved. 


Mateja, C.  

Women and microfinance: a route to poverty reduction? How successful are microfinance initiatives directed at women in achieving poverty reduction? Birmingham: University of Birmingham, 2009.

The aim of this essay is to evaluate the success of microfinance initiatives that are directed at women in achieving poverty reduction. It argues that while these initiatives are beneficial, the belief that they alone can reduce poverty is too simplistic.

The essay is divided into two parts. The first part introduces the concept of microfinance and the rationale behind targeting women, which is critically examined. The second part looks at the impact of microfinance initiatives directed at women on poverty alleviation. Drawing on examples from some African and Asian countries, the argument is built on the examination of two dimensions of poverty, namely income generation and empowerment.


Mayoux, L.

Women's empowerment through sustainable micro-finance. Rethinking "best practice".

Sustainable Micro-finance for Women's Empowerment, 2006.

This paper challenges assumptions about the automatic benefits of micro-finance for women. It argues that financial indicators of access - such as women's programme membership and size of loans - cannot be used as indicators of women's empowerment. High repayment levels by women do not necessarily indicate that women have used the loans themselves. Men may take the loans from women, or women may choose to invest the loans in men's activities. Likewise, high demand for loans by women may be a sign of social pressure to access resources for in-laws or husbands rather than a sign of empowerment. Where women are unable to negotiate changes in intra-household and community gender inequalities they may become dependent on loans to continue in low-paid occupations with heavier workloads and enjoying little benefit.


Mayoux, L., and Hartl, M.

Gender and rural microfinance. Reaching and empowering women. Guide for practitioners. Rome: IFAD, 2009.

This guide is intended as an overview of gender issues for rural finance practitioners.

It highlights the questions that need to be asked and addressed in gender mainstreaming. It will also be useful to gender experts wishing to increase their understanding of specific gender issues in rural finance..










A bibliography:


In 2005 BRIDGE came with a Cutting Edge Pack on Gender and trade.

In what ways can trade advance or impede gender equality?

What practical ways can policy-makers and practitioners promote gender equality in work on trade? 

Trade and trade liberalisation have very different impacts on women and men. This pack aims to support trade specialists in bringing a gender perspective into their work, and to help gender specialists to understand the broad implications of trade policy and practice.

The pack is a concise & practical resource consisting of:

§   Overview report - by Zo Randriamaro (WEDO) with support from Mariama Williams (IGTN and Institute of Law and Economics, Jamaica)

§   Collection of supporting resources - summaries of key texts, case studies and tools, and key organisations

§   Gender and Development In Brief bulletin

                The Cutting Edge Pack on Gender and Budgets is available from the BRIDGE website at:



And further:


Ascoly, N., and Finney, C. 

            Made by women. Gender, the global garment industry, and the movement for women’s workers rights. Amsterdam: Clean Clothes Campaign, 2005.


Gender influences labour practices in countless ways - ideas about the jobs women can do, how they should do them, their wages, their relationship to employers and the law. This publication aims to provide a clear understanding of the key role that gender plays in shaping the issues that labour rights activists in the garment industry are tackling. This document is part of CCC efforts to document

examples of initiatives that have recognised the gendered nature of the processes which underpin the current garment and sports shoe industries. Chapters address issues such as gender and labour mobility in the global garment industry, the impact of gender roles in garment workers' health, and the shifting patterns of women's work. Profiles are also given of women who are actively campaigning for the rights of women workers, as well as examples of organisations working to promote better lives for women workers, such as the Chinese Working Women Network and the Committee for Asian Women.

Also available in French and Spanish.


Canadian International Development Agency - CIDA

Gender equality and trade-related capacity building. A resource tool for practitioners. CIDA, 2005.

CIDA's Gender Equality Division has released a new publication, Gender equality and trade-related capacity building: A resource tool for practitioners, to be used by CIDA officers, partners, and development practitioners inter-nationally to ensure that trade policies take into account the differential impact of trade on women and men. The resource tool, launched during the WTO Ministerial Conference in Cancún, highlights gender equality issues, including barriers and needs in relation to various aspects of trade liberalisation and trade-related capacity-building programming. It also suggests ways to address these concerns in developing programming.


Franck, A.

            Key feminist concerns regarding core labour standards. Brussel: WIDE, 2008.  


'Labour standards' are established by the International Labour Organisation conventions and implemented by national governments. A limited number of labour standards have been established as the 'Core Labour Standards' (CLS) that apply to all ILO members. A 'social clause' refers to the inclusion of labour issues in trade agreements. 'Voluntary measures' refer to voluntary corporate social responsibility measures for private corporations. The opposition to including compulsory labour standards within the multilateral framework has made it increasingly popular to include them in bilateral and regional free trade negotiations. The EU has set out to include it as a part of the sustainable development section in its ongoing and future free trade agreements.

This paper aims to discuss the gendered nature of these measures, to highlight the implications for women workers in developing countries. The paper is mainly a study of the available literature within academia as well as relevant official documents and material from non-governmental organisations.


Tallontire, A.; Smith, S.; Njobvu, C.

Ethical trade in African horticulture. Gender, rights and participation. Final report on Zambia study. Ethical Trade and Natural Resources Programme (NRET), NRI, 2004.
Codes of conduct for ethical trade have been criticised for failing to consider gender issues or extend to temporary workers. In response, this paper explores ways to develop codes that are effective and inclusive of all workers, including female and temporary workers. The research:

* analyses how ethical trade can enhance the economic and social rights of women and men workers in African export horticulture,

* identifies best practice in implementing gender-sensitive ethical trade based on worker and stakeholder participation.

The paper argues that the success of these actions depends on instituting a process through which the voices of all workers can be heard in an ongoing manner. It finds that Ethical trade could make a positive contribution to this sustained process of improvement if a number of changes are made to the way codes are implemented and audited. These changes centre around the adoption of a participatory, multi-stakeholder approach which would involve: participatory social auditing tools, a process approach, stakeholder engagement and a local multi-stakeholder initiative.


Williams, M.

Gender mainstreaming in the multilateral trading system. A handbook for policy makers and other stakeholders. London: The Commonwealth, 2003.

This handbook is an information and training tool for policy-makers and inter-governmental and civil society organisations interested in building and enhancing their knowledge of the important linkages between trade and investment policy and gender equality objectives and priorities. It also presents recommendations on the key issues as well as the identification of strategies that could be utilised by different stakeholders.

ISBN: 0-85092-736-6







Sustainable Micro-finance for Women's Empowerment

This website builds on work on gender, empowerment and micro-finance by Linda Mayoux and brings together resources which can inform a rethink and innovation with respect to women's empowerment and microfinance. The website complements more detailed discussion and web links for development concepts, gender, livelihood development, participatory methods and other material for empowerment-focused NGOs. This website is intended as ongoing resource which will grow over time to enable gender experts and micro-finance specialists to work together to develop realisable ways forward. 



International Labour Organization

            Gender Equality




Network Women in Development Europe  (WIDE)



Women in Informal Employment Globalizing and Organizing - WIEGO

WIEGO is a worldwide coalition of institutions and individuals concerned with improving the status of women in the economy's informal sector.

The coalition was born out of the conviction that women workers - particularly those from low-income households - are concentrated in the informal sector. Although the informal sector contributes to both poverty alleviation and economic growth it remains largely invisible in official statistics and policies. Thus, WIEGO strives to improve the status of the informal sector through compiling better statistics, conducting research and developing programmes and policies.

The site contains information about WIEGO and their programme areas and affiliates. Fact sheets, publications, news and events, and links.

            Also accessible in Spanish.