Women and Business Drivers of Development
In many parts of the developing world, women have far more economic opportunity overall today than they did a generation ago. Women’s health, education, and labor force participation levels have risen considerably, raising living standards and strengthening societies worldwide.
But progress remains uneven. Results vary considerably from region to region, and from area to area in many countries.
Widespread gender disparities continue to exist in local economies. In 102 out of 141 economies covered by our research, there exists at least one legal difference that may hinder women’s economic opportunities. Women entrepreneurs often have difficulty starting and building a business, and while women employees are largely concentrated in lower-paying jobs, employers have made few advances in creating more productive working conditions. Even in high-growth emerging markets, women are more likely than men to be poor and have fewer opportunities for advancement.
Economic growth—while critical— does not solve the problem by itself. A special emphasis on creating opportunity for women is required. IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, providing advisory services to businesses and governments, and mobilizing capital in the international financial markets.
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We use a women-targeted approach, in our investment and advisory work, teaming with partners to test and demonstrate sustainable business approaches that are scalable and replicable. This creates opportunities for women in business with the aim of transforming local and global markets.