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.