Since 1993, Women for Women International has served more than 479,000 marginalised women affected by conflict. Through our yearlong programme marginalised women are supported to: earn and save money; influence decisions; improve their well-being; and connect to networks for support. We see promising results in our monitoring and evaluation efforts.
Based on our evidence and complemented by global studies, we highlight four key, interlinked components that are necessary for effectively supporting women's economic empowerment in conflict:1. Work with men to address discriminatory gender norms. All members of society suffer from patriarchal attitudes and have a role to play in promoting gender equality – these are not just "women's issues".2. Holistic and integrated programming. Women's needs and experiences in conflict are complex and interlinked. Solely economic interventions alone have not proven to yield long-term benefits.3. Build women's economic knowledge and skills. This is vital to supporting them to build agency and influence decisions, increase their income and increase their resilience to economic shocks.4. Informal and formal support networks. In the absence of government and financial services, networks are key to supporting women to access financial support, particularly for savings and income.
In conclusion, this paper makes five recommendations for international governments and donors to effectively deliver on international commitments and support marginalised women's economic empowerment in conflict-affected contexts:1. Urgently increase funding for women's rights organisations.2. Support economic empowerment programmes that include men in their programme design.3. Target the most marginalised women.4. Support holistic and integrated programming.5. Listen to the needs of marginalised women and actively include them in the design, implementation and review of economic empowerment programmes.