How inclusive is inclusive business for women? Examples from Asia and Latin America
This report (PDF) assesses the extent to which inclusive business models promote women’s economic empowerment. As a commercially viable business model, inclusive business bears considerable potential for women’s economic advancement, though not every inclusive business will inevitably do so. It is important to distinguish two ways in which inclusive business is relevant to women’s economic empowerment. The first involves women as implicit beneficiaries of inclusive business models. These businesses provide services or products in areas in which women bear specific disadvantages and therefore often create tangible benefits for women, but do not necessarily address their empowerment specifically. The second involves women as explicit beneficiaries. Inclusive business models with this goal in mind may take measures to target women specifically in creating economic opportunity. This can include providing access to goods and services tailored to the needs of women, such as reproductive care or financial services for women’s businesses. This report highlights examples from the inclusive business portfolios of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), including examples from the agricultural sector. It shows that there are only a few inclusive business models that explicitly promote gender empowerment. And while there are many social enterprise initiatives and corporate social responsibility activities promoting gender-related issues, these projects remain small in scale and impact.