Jan 24, 2021

Global Research Network on the Economic Empowerment of Women (ReNEW)

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Recognizing the social, economic, and health costs of gender inequality, numerous governments and other global organizations have made women’s economic empowerment a key priority. The OECD (2016) defines women’s economic empowerment as “women’s capacity to contribute to and benefit from economic activities on terms which recognize the value of their contribution, respect their dignity and make it possible for them to negotiate a fairer distribution of returns.” Yet despite its importance, the economic empowerment of women continues to lag. Globally, not one country is on target to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goal of Gender Equality by 2030.

Within this context, we have built a global interdisciplinary research network to examine women’s economic empowerment. The purpose of the Global Research Network on the Economic Empowerment of Women (ReNEW) is to build the foundation for sustained and productive research partnerships across disciplines, universities, and countries. We aim to understand, analyze, and theorize the experiences of women in a range of national, cultural, economic, and policy contexts.

Currently, six countries that represent five global regions are involved in ReNEW: Australia (Oceania), Brazil (South America), Canada (North America), Ghana (Africa), Ireland (Europe), and Mexico (North America). Building on understanding from country and region-specific analysis, we will make recommendations for national and international policy frameworks and initiatives.

A novel contribution of ReNEW is that we are examining women’s economic empowerment across developing and developed countries to identify common themes and issues relevant to women in a range of economies. Issues that are common across the globe include persistent gender pay gaps, the unequal distribution of unpaid and informal work between women and men, lower political participation of women, increased risk of poverty and violence for women and mothers, and the negative effects of income insecurity on individual, child, and familial health.

Through this network, we aim to derive innovative approaches to research and policies to improve women’s economic empowerment and to propose important social innovations and initiatives that could be transformative for women.