Global Resources

2009 World Survey on the Role of Women in Development Women’s Control Over Economic Resources and Access to Financial Resources, Including Microfinance

Publisher: Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations
Publication Date: Jan 2009

Long-standing inequalities in the gender distribution of economic and financial resources have placed women at a disadvantage relative to men in their capability to participate in, contribute to and benefit from broader processes of development. This survey provides an overview of the gender equality implications of economic growth, monetary, fiscal and trade policies and capital flows. It also examines women’s voice in economic decision-making. The authors examine women’s position in the labour market and the factors that constrain their capacity to respond to new economic opportunities and bargain for fairer returns to their labour. The gender distribution of other economic resources, such as land, property, housing, common pool resources and infrastructure, and their implications for the livelihood strategies of low-income households in both rural and urban contexts is also considered. Women’s access to financial services through loans and savings and issues of social protection is raised.

The document concludes that ensuring women’s economic empowerment and access to and control over resources requires an integrated approach to growth and development, focused on gender-responsive employment promotion and informed by the interdependency between economic and social development. Social objectives need to be incorporated into economic policies. Economic growth strategies should give attention to the real economy and focus on creating a gender sensitive  macroeconomic environment, full employment and decent work, access to land, property and other productive resources as well as financial services, and full coverage of social protection measures. A number of concrete recommendations are provided for Member States, international organisations including the United Nations, the private sector, NGOs, trade unions and other stakeholders:

  • strengthen efforts to implement the gender mainstreaming strategy by identifying and addressing gender perspectives in relation to all economic and financial resources
  • adopt appropriate measures to identify and address the negative impacts of the economic and financial crisis on women and girls and maintain adequate levels of funding for gender equality and the empowerment of women
  • undertake a gender analysis of national labour laws and standards and establish gender-sensitive policies and guidelines for employment practices
  • promote lifelong learning and equal access of women to vocational and workplace education and training programmes and innovative information and communications technology programmes.