Oxfam’s work on women’s economic empowerment

Oxfam works on women’s economic empowerment (WEE) in over 40 countries on a range of multi-country programs, predominately focuses on achieving economic empowerment for rural women. We apply a ‘dual approach’ that seeks to both create better livelihood opportunities and remove the structural barriers which limit women’s economic choices and erode their rights. Our approach is holistic, systemic and rights-based (more information on our approach).

Below are descriptions of some of Oxfam's major multi-country programmes and approaches to WEE.


The Gender Transformative and Responsible Agribusiness Investments in Southeast Asia (GRAISEA) programme aims to improve the livelihoods of women and men small-scale producers in the Southeast Asian region and in Pakistan through more responsible and inclusive value chains and private sector investments, and where women demonstrate economic leadership.

Empower Youth for Work

The Empower Youth for Work programme creates economic and social empowerment for young women and men living in rural climate-change affected areas, changes policies and involves institutional commitment that opens up new opportunities for women and youth, creates and replicates new business models that are fit for purpose and adopts a multi-stakeholder approach ensures wide dissemination of program models.

Gendered Enterprise and Markets (GEM)

The GEM Programme is a cutting-edge holistic market-systems approach to sustainable livelihoods development. To improve the long-term sustainability and scale of impact of our smallholder livelihoods programmes, GEM brings together our experience and expertise in three areas: Women’s Economic LeadershipPower in MarketsAdaptation and Risk Reduction


The Women’s Empowerment Mainstreaming And Networking for Gender Justice in Economic Development is a long-term global process spearheaded by Oxfam since 2007 as part of its Gender Justice and Economic Justice programmes.

Enterprises that Change Lives

Oxfam implements the programme “Empresas que cambian Vidas” (ECV) (Enterprises that Change Lives) to support and develop small enterprises in 4 selected countries: Bolivia and Paraguay in Latin America and the Caribbean, and Mauritania and Burkina Faso in West Africa.

Saving for Change: Financial inclusion and resilience for the world's poorest people

Oxfam's Saving for Change provides an easy mechanism allowing vulnerable women living in remote rural areas to safely save small amounts regularly and access affordable credit through their groups.  They use the loans to finance small income generating activities and life’s emergencies.

Women in Small Enterprise (WISE)

Oxfam’s Women in Small Enterprise (WISE)  initiative helps women entrepreneurs overcome the hurdles that can make it difficult-to-impossible for them to build successful small businesses.


We-Care is an initiative to make care work more visible and address it as a factor influencing gender equality. It aims to join others to build solutions to the centuries-old challenge of providing care for people whilst also ensuring women's human rights. Addressing care work is a precondition for achieving women's political, social and economic empowerment, and for overcoming poverty.

Entreprise Development Programme (EDP)

EDP seeks to promote a different, more business-like approach to international development, more ambitious than conventional livelihoods initiatives and underpinned by robust commercial disciplines. It is, in effect, a social venture capital fund that identifies, nurtures and invests in small and growing businesses throughout the developing world – providing a mix of finance, training and advice.

ChinaDev Programme

Oxfam’s China and the Developing World (ChinaDev) Programme advocates for the government and corporations in China to be progressive forces for development in these countries and to contribute to the responsible well-being of communities there. It places a particular focus on the rights to sustainable livelihoods and to the security of poor women and men in those countries by promoting development and investment policies and practices that are pro-poor, pro-equity and sustainable.