Women’s Economic Empowerment Global Learning Forum, Bangkok

May 23, 2017

Jeannette presented the W+ Standard during the session on “Towards Transformational Change: Upgrading Women’s Roles within Agricultural Value Chains” during the Women’s Economic Empowerment Global Learning Forum, convened by SEEP on 23 May in Bangkok. Jeannette presented that the W+ Standard can incentivize agribusinesses to change practices, to contribute to upgrading roles for women in supply chains. Application of the W+ Standard results in a transparent, accountable pathway for investors, companies, development agencies, preventing ‘pink washing’. The other speakers were: Sonia Jordan from ÉLAN RDC and Inga Mepham from Tomak.

Sonia presented a great argument that Increased access + enhanced agency ≠ upgraded role or empowerment. She argued that entering new roles in new sectors (cash crops), increasing job security through contracted work, improving working conditions, increasing value capture and increasing sustained access to capacity development and training can enable women to ‘upgrade’ their roles. 

There was various thought provoking session during the two-day forum. The key note speaker Dr. Naila Kabeer, emphasized the need to focus on ‘structures of constraints’ and asked whether the current WEE models challenge the systemic barriers. Here is the brief overview of the keynote speech: Economic versus Non-Economic Empowerment: Is it a False Dichotomy? by Naila Kabeer http://www.seepnetwork.org/blog/economic-non-economic-empowerment-false-dichotomy

Dr. Cynthia Drakeman, lead author of the final report of the UN High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment titled: ‘Leave No One Behind: Taking Action for Transformational Change on Women’s Economic Empowerment’, shared the findings during the final plenary.  The report lays out concrete actions for accelerating progress towards women’s full and equal economic participation and it also presents an interesting infograph to showcase seven drivers of women’s economic empowerment: