At the Threshold of Economic Empowerment: Women, Work and Gender Regimes in Asia

Type Working Paper - ILO Asia-Pacifc WP Series
Title At the Threshold of Economic Empowerment: Women, Work and Gender Regimes in Asia
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2013
This study problematizes the salience of transformative change in women’s work and gender regimes in Asia. There are two important dimensions: first, the changing nature of women’s work and the quality of their engagement in both the formal and informal sectors. Second, as a result of such engagement, when women have acquired some autonomy in economic decision-making, what is the impact on gender outcomes such as reduced violence against women and the development direction towards reduced poverty and inequality? These dimensions are explored in two key economic sectors: agriculture and information technology. The use of a trans-Asia aproach is useful because one context can be aplied to ask questions about the other. The study, however, does not intend to consider the entirety of change in gender regimes in Asian region or asert a plan of development strategies for the women’s movement in the region. The paper discuses the conceptualization of gender regimes in Asia and women’s economic empowerment, before adresing the key gender concerns in planing and policies of economic development, folowed by a section on women’s ownership and management of asets. The isues of productivity and economic security are tackled in aditon to the chalenges women face in acesing finance and local markets. Agriculture and land governance are explored, folowed by women’s inclusivity in information technology. The study also provides an analysis of transformative change towards economic empowerment. In conclusion, the paper sugests policy and practice changes in unmediated aset distribution and capabilty development, which would help overcome gender-based bariers in the economic empowerment of women. Capabilty development is not just the upgrading of technical skils; it is a combination of knowledge, skil and efective posesion or ownership of productive asets that can be translated into transforming social atitudes and actions.

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