Taking the ‘work’ entry point into investigating the relationships between paid work and empowerment and exploring the implications of changing markets in the wake of globalisation for women’s rights, security and wellbeing as workers as a pathway of empowerment.
Projects under this theme include:
- Working Group on Women's Work
- Gendered Impacts of BRAC and WFW Microfinance Programming on Hazara Women in Kabul, Afghanistan
- Conditional Cash Transfers in Egypt
- Changes and Continuities in Women's Everyday Lives in Ghana
- Empowering Domestic Work: The Organising of Domestic Workers in Brazil
- Lady Health Workers in Pakistan
- Women Health Workers in Bangladesh
- Paid Work and Women's Empowerment
- Women's Voice in Policy Spaces Shaping the Global Economy
Lead Researchers: Ragui Assaad and Hania Sholkamy
Project Description: The researchers use the Egypt Labour Market Panel Survey (ELMPS) of 2006 (and its predecessors) to foster both qualitative and quantitative studies on various aspects of gender and work in Egypt, as well as building research capacity in this area.
Analysis of gender and work-related demographics within the 2006 ELMPS has created a repository of data is being cross-examined along with similar data from other Pathways hubs. This allows for the compilation of information on the economic role of women within Egypt as well as a comparative global south context. This research provides an insight into women working in formal and informal markets.
The ELMPS represents a particularly rich source of longitudinal information about the Egyptian workforce and examining the data pertaining to women, in addition to all the factors affecting women and the work they do, provides new information about their economic lives and what that means within Egyptian society.
Project Description: One of the core hypothesis of the ‘empowering work’ theme is that access to income can, with the right kinds of supportive measures, provide women the material basis from which to renegotiate patriarchal constraints within the family and to expand their participation in the political domain. This research seeks to explore the extent to which access to economic resources can play a similar role in post-conflict societies in which normal livelihood strategies have been disrupted over an extended period of time, large sections of the population face extreme poverty and there may be greater need and acceptability for women to play a large economic role in family life.
The aim of the research is to provide a grass-roots analysis of the livelihood strategies of women from low income households, their ability to take advantage of new economic resources and the extent to which these resources, along with other supportive measures, have translated into shifts in the balance of power within the family and the community.
Kabeer, N., Khan, A. and Adlparvar, N. (2011) 'Afghan Values or Women's Rights? Gendered Narratives about Continuity and Change in Urban Afghanistan', IDS Working Paper 387, Brighton: IDS
Lead Researcher: Hania Sholkamy
Project Description: The conditional cash transfer (CCT) pilot in the Cairene slum of Ain es Sira started in May 2009 and will last for two years. The Social Research Center (SRC) of the American University in Cairo is providing technical assistance to the Egyptian Ministry of Social Solidarity (MOSS) in designing, implementing and evaluating this pilot to inform national social policy decisions. Within the pilot, 380 most vulnerable families with children have been registered to participate, receiving monthly cash payments in exchange for fulfilling child development goals related to health and education. Six MOSS social workers were trained to assist in the pilot from a flat rented in Ain es Sira and transformed into a field office. A supervisor/field manager from SRC is also participating in daily program activities in the field.
Non-governmental organisations present and operating in the area have been involved in a privately-funded initiative to improve the quality of the education of beneficiary children. This After School program will provide guidance and resources for NGOs to develop programs to establish children’s playgrounds, libraries, study areas and mentoring services during afternoon hours.
Key to this program is raising awareness about citizenship entitlements and rights. Participants will be required to sign a contract stating that they will fulfill the program conditions, but also acknowledging that they are owed services and cash from the state as citizens. This is particularly pertinent for female heads-of-household participating in the program, who are the recipients of the cash and who regularly access state services for their family’s wellbeing. Additionally, the program is gender aware in holding monthly awareness sessions targeted towards increasing knowledge about gender issues such as FGM, contraception, and domestic abuse.
The pilot is designed to study the process of implementing a conditional cash transfer program in Egypt. The program will also be replicated in villages of Upper Egypt.
'Introducing Empowering Conditional Cash Transfers to Egypt', report of workshop, Cairo, January 2008
'Women at the Heart of Egypt's First Conditional Cash Transfers Scheme' IDS News May 2009.
'No Path to Power: Civil Society, State Services and the Poverty of City Women', Hania Sholkamy, IDS Bulletin 41.2: 46-53
'What would a Feminist CCT Programme look like?', Pathways Middle East Case Study
Lead Researchers: Dzodzi Tsikata and Akosua Darkwah
Project Description: The study explores women's everyday lives in order to better understand their experiences of empowerment and disempowerment as they relate to the three themes of the RPC - empowering work, building constituencies for women's empowerment and changing narratives of sexuality. Through a pilot survey of 400 women in urban, peri-urban and rural areas in the Greater Accra Region, the study examines how women's experiences of empowerment and disempowerment are associated with particular moments in their lives from childhood to adulthood.
'Education: Pathway to Empowerment for Ghanaian Women?', Akosua Darkwah, IDS Bulletin 41.2: 28-36
'Inter-generational Perspectives on Women's Lives and Empowerment', Pathways West Africa Case Study
Ghana: Three Generations of Women, Pathways Review of 2009/10
Researchers: Terezinha Gonçalves da Silva and Fernanda Capibaribe
Project Description: This project traces how some of the most marginalised workers in Brazil came to unionise, press demands for professionalisation to government and achieve a major policy shift and draws out broader lessons on how marginalised workers can gain rights, security and wellbeing, addressing the intersections of race, class and gender.
'Creuza Oliveira', article by Andrea Cornwall on Creuza Oliveira, a black domestic workers' rights leader in Brazil and her struggle to get rights and recognition for domestic workers via political office.
'Crossroads of Empowerment: The Organisation of Women Domestic Workers in Brazil', Terezinha Goncalves, IDS Bulletin 41.2: 62-69
'Revealed Cities: A Photovoice Project with Domestic Workers in Salvador, Brazil', Andrea Cornwall, Fernanda Capibaribe and Terezinha Goncalves, Development, 53.2: 299-300
Domestic Workers in Brazil weblog, set up to share information on the research and the background of domestic workers legislation [in Portuguese]
Lead Researcher: Ayesha Khan
Project Description: The purpose of this study is to explore the empowerment-related possibilities experienced by women in a major public sector community health initiative in Pakistan. The Lady Health Worker (LHW) scheme has engaged almost 100,000 women across Pakistan to work in their local communities as primary health and family planning service providers through visiting households door to door to document basic health indicators and offer selected services. The study locates the LHW experience within the geography of gender in diverse parts of Pakistan, and attempts to identify whether the work has any transformative effect on LHWs themselves, and/or has affected the views of communities regarding women’s paid work.
Women Health Workers Creating Particular Pathways of Change, Pathways South Asia Case Study
A. Khan, 2011, 'Lady Healthworkers and Social Change in Pakistan', Economic and Political Weekly, XLVI.30: 28-31
Project Description: Our research considers whether and how the work done by Women Health Workers leads to changes at the individual, family and societal levels. We explore how Women Health Workers are introducing new role models for women, challenging purdah, encouraging mobility, and creating pathways of empowerment. Our study compares public (government) women health workers with non-government women health workers from the pioneering programmes: ICDDR,B, Ganoshathya Kendro and BRAC.
'Community Health Workers as Agents of Change', Daily Star report
Women Health Workers Creating Particular Pathways of Change, Pathways South Asia Case Study
Lead Researchers: Naila Kabeer and Simeen Mahmud
Project Description: This research project will explore how paid work can change women’s lives in terms of dealing with the public sphere and institutions, accessing services, commodities, resources, information, reducing isolation, increasing negotiation/bargaining skills, ability to protect themselves, etc. The context under which work can be empowering and the kinds of work that change lives will be compared through comparisons of similar research undertaken by other hubs (Brazil and Egypt). The research hopes to influence conventional thinking about contributions of paid employment to women’s empowerment.
In the first phase a survey was carried out in 8 different districts of Bangladesh, including two urban/peri-urban locations. Around 5000 women were interviewed using a structured questionnaire covering different aspects of life in order to gauge their empowerment status. The work research in phase two continues the analysis of the survey data as well as conducting 40 life histories of the women sampled from the survey.
Changing Images of Women in Bangladesh
Brick Lane: Fact, Fiction and Film - Reflections on Love and Choices for Bangladeshi Women - IDS News, Naila Kabeer
N. Kabeer, S. Mahmud and S. Tasneem, 2011, Does Paid Work Provide a Pathway to Women's Empowerment? Empirical Findings from Bangladesh, IDS Working Paper 375, Brighton: IDS
Naila Kabeer (2008) 'Paid Work, Women's Empowerment and Gender Justice: Critical Pathways of Social Change' Pathways Working Paper 3
Naila Kabeer (2007) 'Marriage, Motherhood and Masculinity in the Global Economy', IDS Working Paper 209, Brighton: IDS
Lead Researcher: Stephanie Barrientos
Project Description: This project looks at the challenge of how to maximise the gains and minimise the constraints of globalisation in order that women can access markets as a pathway to their empowerment in different regional and local contexts.
'Women Treading the Corridors of Corporate Power', Stephanie Barrientos, April 2008