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MaFI (The Market Facilitation Initiative)

Market Facilitation Clinic 4: Bringing Gender Norms to the Forefront of Systemic Interventions


Bringing Gender Norms to the Forefront of Systemic Interventions

This group is comprised of members who have roles related to integrating gender and women’s economic empowerment into market systems programs. They are positioned to experiment with putting gender and social norms into play in market systems interventions and strategies. The group explored how to analyze social norms around gender and act upon that knowledge within interventions. This included tactics and strategies for getting market actors to explicitly include women in their business model, as well as development of  cutting edge M&E/MRM indicators that go beyond gender-disaggregated data to understand qualitative changes in women’s roles within market systems.

Learning Agenda: How can we use a market systems approach to catalyze wider behaviour change related to gender and social norms? How do we make the (business) case to market actors for women’s economic empowerment?

  • When it comes to making the business case, the tactics for doing so will differ based on beliefs and awareness of each actor. Some will see it instinctively, while others will be entrenched in their worldview and harder to convince. Read more about the Learning Agenda here>>

Participants and Their Initial Challenges

Gender and Social Issues Specialist, DFID Market Development Programme for Northern Ghana/Nathan Associates Inc.*

Theresa leads the gender strategy for MADE (Market Development in Northern Ghana), which is taking the M4P approach to bring about large scale and sustainable change in the way markets work in the region. Challenge with addressing gender issues (decision making at the household level) when working only through market actors, who don’t see the immediate commercial benefit of conducting community-level gender sensitization.

Women's Empowerment Program Manager, Watershed Cambodia

Sarah is supporting multiple programs run by Watershed to make private markets for water, sanitation and hygiene products in Cambodia more inclusive market for women. Broad challenge of addressing barriers that women face in participating successful in WASH markets, and specifically trying to figure out how to design interventions that respond to the low levels of social trust (in a post-conflict society).

Country Director, World University Service of Canada (WUSC)

Rosa leads the Uniterra program in Peru to take a market system approach to ultimately benefit women and youth. A unique element of Uniterra is that the only resource provided by the program is Canadian professionals, volunteers that spend a year in Peru, in the community facilitating access to markets. This relates to her challenge, which is how to effectively onboard and integrate volunteers into a market systems approach while maintaining the emphasis on women’s economic empowerment, given the cultural nuance and complexity of social norms.

Women's Economic Empowerment Advisor, Adam Smith International*

Sonia oversees ASI’s portfolio of private sector development programs from a women’s economic empowerment perspective (WEE), working closely with several of the programs as their dedicated WEE Advisor (including ASI-implemented programs in DRC and Liberia). Sonia’s challenge was how to effectively pitch gender-responsive business practices to the private sector and overcome the reluctance of business to take a gendered agenda seriously, recognising norms and perceptions around women’s lower or less consistent value-addition. She talked about the difficulty of finding localized evidence on the commercial case for gender-responsive business practices from within a country.

Agribusiness Coordinator and Gender Lead, PROFIT+ (Zambia)/ACDI/VOCA*

Ivy is an agribusiness coordinator for ACDI-VOCA’s PROFIT+ program in Zambia, and also doubles as one of the gender leads for the program. Her challenge revolves around how to integrate both women and men into the market system given cultural barriers that allocate much of the productive work at a household level to men, limiting the ability for women to fully participate in the market system.


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