Reading List: Our Top 20 Stories on Women’s Economic Advancement

Our best economics stories from 2017, and a request for experts for our growing coverage in 2018.

Written by Jihii Jolly Published on Read time Approx. 5 minutes
Women farmers walk home after working in the fields all day. Wendy Stone/Corbis via Getty Images

It’s been a landmark year for women’s rights, but when it comes to the economic advancement of women in the developing world, there is tremendous work to be done. Here’s a reading list of some of our most important stories from 2017, from our reporters and our community of experts.

In 2018, we’ll be expanding our coverage of this issue and would love your help. If you’d like to lend your expertise to our coverage and join the community, please complete this brief form.

Amid India’s I.D. Debate, Women Quietly Gain Control of Family Finances
The Bhamashah scheme running in Rajasthan aims to increase women’s financial inclusion by giving them more control over their family’s money. Women & Girls speaks with Anit Mukherjee, who co-authored a report on the program’s progress toward that goal.

Cash Crop: Women Farmers in Kenya Beat Drought With Native Grass
While farmers around Kenya struggle to grow enough maize to feed their families and their cattle, some women dairy farmers are boosting milk production and making money by growing and selling native grasses as cattle feed.

After Building a Jasmine Empire, a Farmer Fights to Keep Her Land
The Indian state of Andhra Pradesh needs a new capital, and the government wants to build it on the banks of the Krishna river. One woman is leading the fight against the development, which is slated to occupy some of the most fertile lands in the country.

Kenya Lifts Ban on Sending Domestic Workers to the Middle East
Reports of abuse prompted Kenya to stop recruitment agencies from sending its citizens to work as domestic workers in the Middle East. Now it’s lifting the ban and introducing new rules it says will ensure Kenyans don’t suffer at the hands of foreign employers.

#MeToo Shows It’s Possible to End Violence Against Women at Work

The #MeToo campaign has shone a light on the abuse women face at work, from the factories of India to Hollywood. The good news is we know how to prevent harassment, writes the International Center for Research on Women’s chief economist Sarah Gammage.

New Index Measures How Safe, Not Just How Economically Equal, Women Are
A new global index from Georgetown University and the Peace Research Institute of Oslo is the first measure to bring women’s inclusion, justice and security together in a single ranking. Women & Girls spoke with lead author Jeni Klugman about why the world needs a new gender ranking.

We’ll Never End the Digital Divide Without Content That Works for Women
Based on a recent report on the digital divide in Myanmar, Amber Ehrke of the International Research and Exchanges Board argues that a lack of perceived benefits of technology prevents women from using it, even as accessibility increases.

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A woman looks at her phone as she waits for her train to depart Yangon. (Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

Liquid Gold: Women in Kenya Find Food Security in Beekeeping
Struggling to find nutritional food to give their children in Kenya’s drought-stricken Rift Valley, villagers defied the taboo against women owning beehives and now produce enough honey to feed and support their families.

African Nations Pledge Greater Land Rights for Women
At a land policy conference, African governments adopted a resolution to grant documented land rights to at least 30 percent of their female populations by 2025. But to do that they must navigate a complicated mix of local laws and long-held customs.

As Gender Gap Widens, Banks Need to See the Value of Women Clients
The surest way to accelerate progress toward global economic parity is for financial institutions to invest in designing and marketing products aimed at women clients, says Mary Ellen Iskenderian, president and CEO of Women’s World Banking.

Worldwide Gender Gap Widens for the First Time in 10 Years
New findings from the World Economic Forum show the world has slipped backward on gender equality for the first time since 2006, and it could take more than 200 years to close the economic gap between men and women.

Expert Views: Digital Inclusion is the Key to Getting Women Bank Accounts
As part of our ongoing Expert Views feature, we asked four women at the forefront of the economic empowerment movement what financial inclusion for women really looks like. The verdict was unanimous.

Seven Questions for Cherie Blair on Investing in Women
Barrister and philanthropist Cherie Blair talked to News Deeply about her work to empower women business owners in the developing world, and how her former life in Downing Street shapes her approach.

As They Fight Famine, South Sudan’s Women Won’t Wait for Handouts
South Sudan’s deadly civil war and bouts of devastating droughts have left millions of people dependent on food aid. But many of the country’s women farmers are learning new skills to keep their families fed.

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These women outside the town of Mingkaman, South Sudan, are part of an agricultural group that uses resources provided by a humanitarian organization to support each other in cultivating crops and staving off famine. (Sam Mednick)

Too Little Aid Money is Reaching Grassroots Women’s Organizations
When governments in the global north provide aid to the global south, they rarely invest directly in the organizations that are already making a difference on the ground. Jessica Neuwirth of Donor Direct Action says that needs to change.

Video: All-Female Advice Groups Help Indian Women Get Into the Workforce
India has one of the lowest rates for women in paid employment in the world. But women’s groups in rural areas are helping each other to start businesses and become financially independent.

Expert View: How to Include More Women in the Global Economy
Two decades of research compiled by the Council on Foreign Relations demonstrates that including more women in labor markets will strengthen the global economy.

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Female fruit vendors awaiting customers in Dhaka, Bangladesh. In developing countries, women often work in the informal sector, in jobs that lack social protection and have low wages. (Mamunur Rashid/NurPhoto)

In DRC, Women Challenge Custom to Assert Legal Right to Inherit Land
Traditionally, women in the Democratic Republic of Congo gained shares in property through marriage, not inheritance – and today, few realize that this custom contradicts the law. In North Kivu province, one organization is spreading awareness and helping resolve inheritance disputes.

Kenyan Women Farmers Find Food Security by Growing for a Brewery
A self-help group of women farmers is defying the effects of climate change and making a steady income by growing drought-resistant sorghum on contract for a national brewery.

To End Sexual Slavery of India’s Devadasi, Economic Empowerment is Key
With the law proving ineffective at eradicating the religious tradition of dedicating young girls to a life of exploitation, the best way to help these women is to give them the tools they need to support their families on their own, writes Smita Premchander of Sampark.

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