Women's Economic Empowerment in Conflict-affected Countries: Potentials and Pitfalls of Entrepreneurship

Wednesday, January 12, 2011 - 19:00
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
Reconstruction and Peacebuilding
Central Africa
Southern Asia

In the most fragile states - those engaged in or just emerging from conflict - putting people back to work is a critical step towards a sustainable peace. Most donor efforts in that direction concentrate on short-term public works, targeted interventions to restore basic livelihoods. OPCFC, PRMGE and PRMPR ongoing work is increasingly exploring the potential for more activist approaches towards sustainable development, through development of entrepreneurship in the immediate aftermath of conflict. Given the reality that women often bear a disproportionate burden of households in fragile states, this talk focuses on women's entrepreneurship.

Drawing on examples from Afghanistan, Rwanda and elsewhere, Gayle Tzemach Lemmon described how women, despite gender-specific barriers, had established viable enterprises based on familial and community networks. She examined the specific opportunities, risks and challenges that women entrepreneurs face, and suggests ways in which the international community could further strengthen women's entrepreneurship in conflict-affected countries.

Jaime Saavedra, Acting Director, Poverty Reduction and Equity Group, PREM

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations, and Deputy Director of the Council's Women and Foreign Policy program. Ms Lemmon has published extensively on women and business. Her work on women entrepreneurs in conflict countries has appeared in the Financial Times and New York Times.

Stephen Ndegwa, Lead Specialist, Fragile and Conflict-Affected Countries Group, OPCS
Monica Das Gupta, Senior Social Scientist, DECHD