Women’s Inclusion in Market Systems: Study Findings

Women’s Inclusion in Market Systems
11 June, 2020

SDC-SHOMOSHTI Project of CARE Bangladesh organized a webinar session titled, Integration of Women in Market Systems: Experiences from SHOMOSHTI Project on May 17, 2020.

SHOMOSHTI, a Market Systems Development project, is implemented by CARE Bangladesh and mandated and funded by Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). The project aiming to improve the wellbeing targets households by improving access to market and social services. Integration of gender in market interventions and business models is another salient feature of SHOMOSHTI. A recent study conducted by CARE Bangladesh assessed womens’ participation in the market systems, their decision making capability, mobility, control over income and men’s contribution to balance their workload.

The webinar session was inaugurated by Prabodh Devkotra, Deputy Country Director- Programs, CARE Bangladesh and moderated by Aamanur Rahman, Director, ERPP of the same organization. In the opening session Mr. Praobodh said,Women’s contribution to the overall economy is very obvious; however, this contribution is still invisible and not recognized in many ways. This is high time to not only recognize women’s contribution to economy and market systems but also to ensure that market systems and value chain are inclusive, women are respected and also seen in leadership roles.” He also added, that the discussions and insights shared during the workshop will help CARE and other stakeholders to further learn and strengthen our interventions.

Rubaiyath Sarwar,  Lead Consultant, Innovision Consulting Bangladesh presented major findings and recommended innovative intervention design for the better way forward. He highlighted the key findings of the study:

  • 77% of the income of targeted women has increased due to project facilitation, out of them 52.5% women have reported that control on their income has also increased.

  • Involvement of women in economic and household decisions making process has increased from 62% to 90%.

  • Women’s access to the markets has increased by 50%.

  • A significant number of men started sharing household works with their wives.

  • Women safe market: A flagship SHOMOSHTI intervention, creates an enabling environment for the women in market, engaging Market Management Committees and Local Administrations.

  • As a way forward the project needs to engage concerned Government departments, Private Sector and Local Administrations Policy advocacy is necessary to engage the relevant stakeholders.

Mr.  Sohel Ibn Ali, Senior Program Manager, SDC said “To get a comprehensive outcome, one classical approach is not sufficient, we need to think out of the box, 2-3 projects may implement a collaborative way of using their optimum focus”

Nilufer Karim, President of Women Entrepreneurs’ Association said, “Capacity of women entrepreneurs, link them with local business associations, orienting them to use ICT is necessary if we want to promote women entrepreneurs”.  Sheepa Hafiza, Equality & Rights Activist said, “Emphasizing on psychosocial counselling for rural women and increased communication is needed to reduce domestic violence in the current COVID-19 situation.”

Representatives from different national and international NGOs, donor's representatives, subject matter specialists, practitioners and private sectors attended the online discussion and made recommendations to reach out to rural poor and extreme poor women. Finally, Mr. Gias Uddin Talukder, Senior Team Leader of SHOMOSHTI Project gave his closing remarks.

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