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Enabling Women’s Economic Empowerment in Africa through Inclusive Financial Services – JumpStart Africa

Empowering women to achieve their full potential is one of the most powerful ways to fight poverty. Yet in countries like Uganda where JumpStart Africa works, women continue to face tremendous barriers to success. They have limited access to the productive resources like land, finance, and information that they need to grow their businesses, and they are disproportionately affected poverty, violence, and discrimination. In most cases, women must also balance the bulk of household and childcare responsibilities with efforts to improve their skills and earn independent incomes. Investing in opportunities for women could have tremendous economic and social impact. If women entrepreneurs had the same access as men to training, information, and resources, they could increase productivity and profitability of their enterprises up to 30%. And on a wider scale, a recent study estimated that women’s equal participation in the labor market would increase the global GDP 26%, or $28 trillion. Moreover, women’s economic empowerment not only promotes greater economic development but greater equity, opportunity, and social progress.

Our Work Empowering Women Economically

JumpStart Africa works creatively and proactively to help women around the world gain equal access to the knowledge, jobs, and finance that enhance both their incomes and their opportunities for the future. Our work centers around three main goals:
  1. Providing access to micro-credit and other financial services to women entrepreneurs especially those who are unbanked.
  2. Training, supporting, and empowering women as entrepreneurs. Closing gender gaps in the performance of small enterprises led women or men.
  3. Building inclusive and competitive businesses that generate decent opportunities for women and men employees, suppliers, and consumers.
We do this working with women, families and communities to overcome gender barriers that may prevent women’s equal participation in our programs or income-generating activities. JumpStart Africa applies special recruiting practices to ensure equal opportunities for empowering women to become business advisors, and other staffers working within local communities. This approach not only helps create local jobs for women, but also establishes women as role models and knowledge experts, changing gender stereotypes within a community.

Who Benefits From Empowering Women?

Women entrepreneurs

Empowering women economically helps empower women within their families, their communities, and beyond. JumpStart Africa sets ambitious targets for women’s inclusion in all our programs, working hard to overcome social and cultural barriers to women’s full participation. Women currently comprise 39% our total beneficiaries and 58% of our beneficiaries in the entrepreneurship sector – a percentage that is very high for many of the places we work, but one that we constantly strive to increase. JumpStart Africa has now helped improve the incomes and livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of enterprising women in underseved communities in Uganda.

Local and international businesses

Enhancing women’s business and leadership skills makes them more productive and engaged workers, suppliers, and customers for local businesses as well as international companies. JumpStart Africa helps companies invest in the women involved in their business operations and supply chains, particularly to develop policies that are family-friendly and promote women’s equity and safety.

Families and communities

When women gain economic empowerment, the effects spread across families and communities. Research indicates that women invest more of their income on family needs such as food, medical care, and schooling, improving opportunities for the next generation. Women in leadership positions such as entrepreneurs also help break down harmful gender-based norms and stereotypes in their communities, while serving as important role models for girls and other women.

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