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Women’s
Economic
Empowerment

Strengthening economic opportunities for women is fundamental to MCC achieving its mission to reduce poverty through economic growth. As part of its data-driven model, MCC consistently works with partner countries to unlock the economic potential of women and overcome financial, legal, and cultural barriers that prevent women from fully engaging in their countries’ economies.

Since its inception, MCC has prioritized the incorporation of gender-inclusive initiatives into its country programs.  Gender analysis informs all aspects of MCC’s work, starting with its selection of country partners. MCC’s country scorecard, used to determine eligibility for MCC funding, includes a Gender in the Economy indicator.

All MCC programs must meet the requirements of MCC’s Gender Policy.  In addition, MCC recently approved an additional criterion that focuses exclusively on women’s economic empowerment, reflecting the high priority that MCC leadership places on strengthening MCC’s efforts to expand women’s economic opportunities.

Each MCC compact and threshold program is grounded in an analysis of gender and requires a Social and Gender Integration Plan, providing a comprehensive roadmap for social inclusion and gender integration throughout program implementation.

Through its programs, engagement with governments, and communications, MCC seeks to advance women’s economic participation and contribute to the U.S. government’s ability to change the landscape of women’s economic empowerment around the world.

Partnerships for Empowering Women

Currently, MCC has the following partnerships to improve our capability to assess the barriers that women face in accessing economic opportunities and improve the likelihood that project selection, design and evaluation will increase equality, opportunity, and empowerment for women.

The Brookings Institute provided recommendations as to how gender inequalities can be integrated in the application of the HRV model during the constraints analysis process in Constraints That Bind (or Don’t): Integrating Gender into Economic Constraints Analysis published April 2020

The World Bank Gender Africa Innovation Lab is strengthening MCC’s ability to design and evaluate its investments in women’s economic empowerment

Innovations for Poverty Action is bringing global expertise to discover solutions around women’s financial inclusion in Lesotho and Indonesia.

International Center for Research on Women and Gap, Inc., is exploring opportunities and strategies for implementing a workplace women’s empowerment program in Lesotho, and developing gender-smart investment tools for an impact and technical assistance fund.

Santa Clara University’s Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship is providing capacity building, coaching, and mentoring support to female entrepreneurs in Kosovo, and advice for the design of similar interventions in Tunisia.

Caritas, Care for Basotho, and 4D Climate Solutions (a consortium of three Lesotho-based NGOs) is focusing on empowering women through savings group-based entrepreneurial interventions to support opportunities for micro, small, and medium enterprise business growth.

Creative Learning, Inc. is developing value chain maps for key products in the creative industries in Lesotho to help make these industries strong and sustainable sources of women and youth employment.

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) is identifying new ways of using gender analysis in MCC economic tools, including the constraints analysis, economic rate of return analysis and beneficiary analysis. This has included designing surveys that identify constraints to women’s economic empowerment through entrepreneurship and labor force participation.

Country Partners for Empowering Women

MCC Programs in Implementation

Côte d'Ivoire Compact

In July 2019, the Ivorian Government passed a marriage law supporting women’s equal rights to the management of household assets, an important step in bringing attention to gender equality in the home. The passage of this critical law also supported the government’s ongoing efforts to improve the country’s performance on MCC’s scorecard.

MCC’s Côte d’Ivoire Compact includes a Skills for Employability and Productivity Project, under which the Ivoirian Ministry of National Education launched a Gender Unit in April 2019. The unit will focus on improving education and training for girls and women, in order to strengthen the workforce and meet the needs of the Ivorian private sector. Also as part of this project, a national gender policy for Côte d’Ivoire’s educational system is being developed and operationalized.

Morocco Employability and Land Compact

MCC’s work in Morocco is focusing on improving rural incomes by providing farmers and their families with secure rights to the land they have been farming for generations. Women's ability to own land in Morocco has traditionally been subject to the multiple systems of law that co-exist in a complex and sometimes contradictory framework. MCC encouraged the Government of Morocco’s December 2019 adoption and implementation of legal reforms to land rights that aim to boost women’s economic empowerment.

To ensure and amplify the benefits of land titles to the farmers and their families, MCC is partnering with Moroccan institutions working at the local level to deliver legal and financial literacy training, facilitate access to credit, train farmers on improved agricultural practices, and promote economic empowerment opportunities for women and youth.

Kosovo Threshold Program

In Kosovo, the female labor force participation rate is among the lowest in the world, and there is a significant lack of economic opportunity for women particularly in the energy sector, where the largest share of MCC resources are being invested.

The Kosovo Threshold Program includes the Reliable Energy Landscape Project which promotes equal economic opportunities through a series of investments designed to strengthen women’s employment and entrepreneurship in the energy sector. An internship program, designed to give young women practical work experience and increase their employability, is placing 200 female students for 6-month paid internships with energy sector companies nationwide. In addition, 28 women have received full stipends for two years of studies at Des Moines Area Community College in the United States, with special focus on STEM subjects and energy sector relevant studies.

Completed MCC Programs

The Georgia Compact II aimed to improve the quality of education in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields and increase the earning potential of Georgians.

The five-year MCC compact with Indonesia's three projects are expected to increase household income and increase productivity through better health and nutrition, sustainable land and energy management, and modernized government procurement.

MCC's investments aimed to increase the availability of water for household and industrial use, enhance watershed management and conservation methods, rehabilitate health infrastructure and strengthen health systems, and remove barriers to private investment.

This compact was designed to increase incomes and reduce poverty by improving the availability and reliability of and access to Malawi's power supply.

The compact increased productivity and improve employment in high-growth sectors like fruit tree productivity, fisheries and artisan crafts. Financial services investments and enterprise support complemented small business creation and economic growth.

The Zambia Compact invested in water supply, sanitation and drainage infrastructure with the goal of decreasing the incidence of water-related diseases, generating time savings for households and businesses, and mitigating business and residential flood losses.