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Reducing Gender Barriers and Advancing Policies to Expand Women’s Opportunities in the Workforce

On June 17, 2021, Banyan Global hosted a virtual learning event, “Reducing Gender Barriers and Advancing Policies to Expand Women’s Opportunities in the Workforce,” for members of USAID’s women’s economic empowerment community of practice (CoP). Members of the CoP convene to share knowledge and resources to advance women’s economic power. Currently, the CoP is exploring existing proven approaches in legal, financial, digital, and market systems; employer practices; and social norms including reducing gender-based violence in the workplace. In March, the COP met for a learning event exploring this topic, with a focus on the economic cost of gender-based violence.

Gender Expert, Jessica Menon from the Engendering Utilities activity discussed efforts to expand women’s participation in male-dominated industries. The activity works with organizations to co-design gender equality initiatives at each phase of the employee lifecycle; from recruiting and hiring to retention and succession planning.

Jacob Mathew, Chief of Party, from the Producer-Owned Women’s Enterprises (POWER) activity highlighted how they are achieving economic and social empowerment for women in rural areas by taking work closer to their home. POWER utilizes gender sensitization workshops, raises awareness, and trains women in the workplace across three value chains.

“Throughout the pandemic, the one thing that we realized was that the women who were organized in entrepreneurial groups – who had that sense of bonding and trust with each other – were far better equipped to face crises…” – Jacob Mathew

After the presentations, participants selected a breakout room of their choice for question-and-answer sessions. These concurrent sessions were led by the two presenters, Jessica and Jacob, and their respective colleagues, Corinne Hart (Senior Gender Advisor for Energy and Environment), and Neelam Chhiber (Co-Founder and Managing Trustee of the Industree Foundation). Participants also could enter a different session at any time.

Check out the event recording of the virtual learning event below, as well as the presentation slide deck and key resources.

Key Resources: