Skip to main content

Table of Contents

  1. Topic pack - Development economics - introduction
  2. 4.1 Economic development (notes)
  3. 4.1 Economic development (questions)
  4. 4.2 Measuring Economic Development (notes)
  5. 4.2 Measuring development (questions)
  6. 4.3 The role of domestic factors in economic development (notes)
    1. Domestic factors - introduction
    2. An introduction to Tanzania
    3. Education
    4. Primary, secondary or tertiary education?
    5. A dependent population
    6. Tanzanian database
    7. Exploring education in Tanzania - data
    8. Exploring education in Tanzania - Maua and Namyani (video)
    9. Exploring education in Tanzania - lost dreams
    10. Exploring education in Tanzania - reflection
    11. Exploring health in Tanzania - data
    12. Exploring health in Tanzania - videos
    13. Exploring health in Tanzania - living with HIV
    14. Exploring health in Tanzania - reflection
    15. Use of appropriate technology
    16. Technology - sawdust stoves and clean water (videos)
    17. Technology - building good roads
    18. Use of appropriate technology - reflection
    19. Access to credit and micro credit
    20. Microcredit in the community (videos)
    21. Microcredit in the news
    22. Microcredit - reflection
    23. The origins of microcredit
    24. What are the pros and cons of microcredit?
    25. Empowerment of women
    26. Issues relating to empowerment of women (video)
    27. Empowerment - in the news
    28. Empowerment - reflection
    29. Income distribution
    30. Lorenz curve and Gini Coefficient
    31. Income distribution - Tanzania
    32. Income distribution - case studies
    33. Income distribution - reflection
    34. Building a development database (part 7)
  7. 4.3 The role of domestic factors in economic development (questions)
  8. 4.4 The role of international trade (notes)
  9. 4.4 The role of international trade (questions)
  10. 4.5 The role of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) (notes)
  11. 4.5 The role of foreign direct investment (questions)
  12. 4.6 The role of foreign aid and multilaterial development assistance (notes)
  13. 4.6 The role of foreign aid and multilateral development assistance (questions)
  14. 4.7 The role of international debt (notes)
  15. 4.7 The role of international debt (questions)
  16. 4.8 The balance between markets and intervention (notes)
  17. 4.8 The balance between markets and intervention (questions)
  18. Print View

Empowerment of women

In the section on microcredit, we saw that one way in which women can be empowered is by providing schemes that lend money to them directly to fund start-up enterprises. This is how the Grameen bank started.

Earlier in this section we also considered the role of education generally in underpinning development. However, there is evidence that suggests that it is the lack of education for girls that is a particular constraint on economic development.

Investment in girls' education does not just benefit the individual concerned, but has a positive impact of the wider society. For example, girls who are educated are less likely to be infected by AIDs or to be exploited by those who engage in human trafficking operations.

We have seen that the lack of education for girls can have a detrimental effect on a country's development. However, the lack of empowerment of women of all ages is also identified as a major constraint on development. Women often bear the disproportionate burdens of poverty, poor education, high unemployment and low social status and mobility and restricted access to birth control.

Characteristics of lack of empowerment include:

  • High fertility rates
  • High population growth

Many NGO initiatives are targeting their development efforts on activities that empower women by improving their status, providing access to health and education and by encouraging economic self-sufficiency. All of these initiatives lead to lower fertility rates, delayed marriage and lower population growth.

Millennium development goals

Two millennium goals specifically relate to the empowerment of women.


Target 3.A:
Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005, and in all levels of education no later than 2015


Target 5.A:
Reduce by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio

Target 5.B:
Achieve universal access to reproductive health

Providing improved access to education and employment opportunities outside the home and enabling a greater degree of economic self-sufficiency allows women more choice of when, and to whom, they marry. The ability to earn personal income ensures greater financial independence from the male members of the family and necessity to be reliant on male members of the family for their financial security.

For many young women without employment and income, the only way to guarantee some form of security is to accept early marriage and child bearing.

Referring to the PPC empowering women will improve both the quantity and quality of the factor labour