Gender Action Mainstreaming for Empowerment to Change


Women's Rights | Women's empowerment | Working with men | Participation | Wealth Creation | Sustainability |
Rocky Road Framework and Tools| GALS Processes | Diamond Forest | FALS |
Livelihoods | Business | Markets | Value chains | Financial Services | Policy |
Advocacy | Research |

What are markets?

Markets are institutions governed by:

  • formal and/or legal rules of exchange
  • social conventions, moral rules and informal norms

The ways in which women and men are able to interact with markets is influenced by:

  • Individual capacities and skills
  • Underlying inequalities in resources, power and decision-making
  • Discrimination within the rules and norms themselves

 Market-led growth

From the 1990s many development agencies moved away from poverty targeting of development interventions to a focus on catalysing economic growth and markets through engagement with the private sector.

There are often a range of possibilities for increasing incomes of medium and large scale businesses. Benefits were then assumed to ‘trickle down to’ or ‘pull up’ the poorest through increasing employment, developing markets for products and providing affordable products. Business techniques for market and competition analysis and strategic planning in multinational, large and medium enterprises were adopted and further elaborated by development agencies.

Some of this development has included voluntary ethical codes of conduct of varying types, even where businesses are outside the fair trade framework.

Return to top

Gender issues

Mainstream economics and development theory has failed to take into account the gender dimensions of all these - even in pro-poor strategies.

  • Significant increases in incomes may require linkages outside the local area, particularly in the case of rural areas.
  • Access to profitable markets is often determined by entrenched power relations.
  • Market constraints on women are often related to underlying gender norms and inequalities which limit their resources, mobility, networks and voice in development of markets.
  • Accessing more distant markets may require women and also men to be away from their families at the expense of children and family wellbeing.
  • Ethical codes are often more for promotional purposes and are rarely integrated into core business planning.
Return to top

gamechange framework

  • Analysis of the range of market-led options for diversification of livelihoods and product/trade innovation open to women and men at local level.

  • This includes identification of individual options, and also the potential economic and other benefits of different forms of informal collaboration and/or formal cooperatives and associations.

  • Identification and linkages with local service providers and changing conditions in the markets to improve facilities for women and poor men.

See GALS Forest of Diamond Dreams

Return to top