Women make enormous contributions to the global economy. Whether on farms, as entrepreneurs or employees, or by doing unpaid care work at home, women’s participation in the formal economy is necessary for any nation or society to fulfill its potential.
Unfortunately, women also remain disproportionately affected by poverty, discrimination, and exploitation. Women have less access to bank accounts and to financing, receive less education than men, and frequently work in vulnerable, low-paid or undervalued jobs. In order to achieve sustainable development, we must addressing gender inequality.
Approach and Expertise
IESC is committed to equitable, sustainable economic development. We consider gender and women’s empowerment principles in every aspect of our programs, from design to implementation. By making these principles a core part of our work, we ensure that our programs are not just strengthening businesses and economies; they are building more equitable, empowered communities.
- We work one-on-one with women entrepreneurs to develop their business plans, build their capacity, and connect with services, often pairing them with women mentors.
- We conduct specialized outreach to ensure that women have access to IESC services and program opportunities.
- We work with government to ensure that policies consider both women’s and men’s business needs.
- We strengthen technical and vocational institutions to deliver improved curriculum and expanded career counseling services to reach more women.
IESC proudly endorses the Minimum Standards for Mainstreaming Gender.
Our Work in Action
In Afghanistan, we brought gender integration to the nation’s most critical ministry, the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock, which now has adopted a national strategy on women in agriculture and other official gender policies. We trained more than 1,600 civil servants (women and men) on gender issues.
In Lebanon, IESC reached more women borrowers by training women loan officers, encouraging hiring more women, and providing gender sensitivity training to microfinance institutions.
In Mali, IESC commits women entrepreneurs and business owners, piloting a successful mentoring program—women mentoring women—to support women to grow their business and connect with other women business owners.