Ideas wall

It was acknowledged that there are links between WEE and VAW, but how do we understand and untangle those?  We need to pay attention to the effects of economic empowerment, whether it generates more VAW or contributes to eradicating it.  For instance, property and land rights can increase women’s agency, e.g., in India, there’s clear link between property (something secure) and negotiation in families, which reduces violence.

There are challenges to addressing links between WEE and VAW links, including: 

  • women themselves being shaped by patriarchy and so we need to work on their attitudes and norms; 
  • there are different forms of violence – how can we address violence in all its manifestations simultaneously?; 
  • there can be backlash, but remember that backlash can be seen as challenging power!  We need to capture this.

Suggestions and best practices for WEE were shared, such as:  

  • In preparation for economic empowerment, women need training processes to strengthen self-esteem, economic management, how to write and implement business plans, etc.; 
  • facilitate the inclusion of trained women in local industry and undertakings; 
  • create conditions for access to credit and loans; 
  • guarantee that women are involved in strategic economic activities; 
  • support women’s initiatives through counselling/advice, local government support, and awareness-raising about their experience
  • Need to integrate income generation / skills building into safe houses

Suggestions and ideas were also shared to better integrate WEE with VAW prevention: 

  • create global spaces for the sharing of Oxfam experiences in WEE and VAW prevention; 
  • local-level responses to VAWG can include labour market insertion opportunities for survivors;
  • “Economic empowerment” cannot be narrowly defined and cannot have narrow solutions because this misses the social dimensions that need to be addressed; 
  • Novib’s Gender Action Learning System (GALS) methodology has worked, there is documented evidence;  
  • 2012 U.S. Department of Justice study on reduction of domestic violence, due to economic empowerment (if someone has this or knows where to find this, please send an email to christine.hughes@oxfam.ca); 
  • think about whether to work on breaking the silence of women in elite classes or in powerful positions – they experience VAW too but we don’t engage or work with them because they’re not the focus of Oxfam’s work;  
  • draw on or think about further collaboration between the VAWG/GBV and WEE in Agriculture Knowledge Hubs.


Kenia Lorenzo.  Think tank.  “Building WEE to end VAWG”.