Global Resources

Identification of economic opportunities for women's groups and communities

Author: G. Heyde
Publisher: International Labour Organization
Publication Date: Jan 2003
This guide is designed to support strategies for improved employment opportunities, particularly amongst women. It is aimed at development and community organisations, including women's groups, small business associations, workers' and employers' organisations, as well as in-country staff charged with assisting these groups. Barriers continue to exist for women to pursue economic activities even where opportunities are readily available. For instance, women may not fully comprehend the economic environment or may not be able to access resources such as credit, training or personal time. There may also be social or cultural barriers to prevent women's participation in particular activities, or there may not be community support available for those enterprises managed by women.

Part 1 provides an overview of the advantages of business development in groups, particularly the empowering capacity of women's groups. Part 2 focuses on analysing the business environment for female business-owners, moving on in Part 3 to a more detailed analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of using women's groups. Part 4 highlights sources of business ideas and techniques to modify existing ones, including brainstorming and monitoring societal trends, with a guide in Part 5 on how to critically analyse these ideas. Part 6 explores some of the practical issues of export and fair trade, including pricing, marketing and financing. In Part 7 the notion of 'economic change' is brought in, emphasising an understanding of the broader macroeconomic context affecting business. A series of annexes provide background information on a range of topics including the impact of trade liberalisation on women and sample forms for conducting market surveys.