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2.3.8. Tool 1: WEEGE Principles Checklist

The WEEGE Principles offer guidance on how USAID and its partners can advance WEEGE within development programming. The principles were developed in consultation with internal and external stakeholders, and they point to promising practices that are informed by real-life development and business experience.

2.3.7. Resource 7: Private Sector Engagement

Introduction The private sector is a vital stakeholder in achieving global WEEGE goals. With access to networks of financial, physical, and social capital, the private sector creates and shapes opportunities for women across all industries and sectors. The private sector creates nine out of ten jobs in the developing world, and it also provides an important pathway to self-reliance and sustainability.

2.3.6. Resource 6: Markets

Introduction Gender inequality and the process of empowerment are dynamic and complex, as are the market systems in which women work. Global markets—both labor and trade—are intricate institutions shaped by social norms, discriminatory forces, and power inequalities.

2.3.5. Resource 5: Cross-Cutting Legal, Regulatory and Policy Reform

Introduction Discriminatory legal, regulatory, and policy barriers serve as major impediments to WEEGE. Providing women with equal economic opportunities requires an integrated and equitable set of laws and policies, as well as the active commitment across all sectors to establish gender-responsive working conditions, policies, and practices.

2.3.4. Resource 4: Human Capital

Introduction Human capital is a central driver of sustainable growth and poverty reduction. Building women’s human capital and capabilities so they can enjoy higher returns for their work is central to women’s economic empowerment and gender equality. By improving their skills, health, knowledge, and resilience—their human capital—women can be more productive, flexible, and innovative.

2.3.3. Resource 3: Finance

Introduction Increasing access to and use of quality financial products and services is essential to inclusive economic growth and women’s economic empowerment. Research shows that when people participate in the financial system, they are better able to manage risk, start or invest in a business, and fund large expenditures.

2.3.1. Resource 1: Assets

Introduction Access to and control over assets, as well as decision-making regarding their use and development, are crucial for women’s financial security and underpin their overall economic empowerment. Evidence supports the importance of control over household assets, including land and housing, for women’s greater self-esteem, respect from family members, economic opportunities, mobility outside of the home, and decision-making.

2.3. Resources, Samples and Tools

Each unit of the WEEGE Technical Guide includes resources, samples and/or tools. Unit 2 includes seven resources and one tool. In this Unit, you will find:

2.2. Applying a WEEGE Lens to ADS 205

Promoting gender equality and advancing the status of women and girls around the world is critical to achieving U.S. foreign policy objectives and development outcomes. USAID recognizes that gender inequalities around the world often preclude women from engaging in development interventions, participating in the labor market, and accessing opportunities for growth.

2.1. Overview

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Program Cycle, as codified in Automated Directives System (ADS) 201, is the Agency’s operational model for planning, delivering, assessing, and adapting development programming to advance U.S. foreign policy.

The Gender Digital Divide

This section contains the Gender Digital Divide (GDD) Desk Review, Gender Analysis Technical Resource, and Risk Mitigation Technical Note, which support the USAID Digital Strategy through the “Closing the Gender Digital Divide” initiative.

Unit 2: WEEGE in The Program Cycle

Unit 2 outlines how USAID staff and partners can integrate WEEGE across the USAID Program Cycle, guided by a set of WEEGE principles and using the ADS 205 as an underlying framework.

1.4. Resources, Samples and Tools

Each unit of the WEEGE Technical Guide includes resources, samples and/or tools for putting WEEGE concepts into practice. In this Unit, you will find: Resource 1: Data Sources  


Achieving WEEGE is a complex challenge. It requires changes in individuals, communities, institutions, markets, social norms and the wider political and legal environment (Box 3 lists some effective practices in the private sector). These changes will create an environment where women’s choices, power and agency can flourish.

1.2. WEEGE Barriers, Opportunities and Evidence

To help countries to achieve self-reliance (as described in  Box 2), as well as to meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, women’s economic empowerment and gender equality must become cornerstones of development programming.  There are some promising developments.

1.1 Overview

Tapping into the potential of women is not only a social but also an economic imperative. Globally in 2019, only 47 percent of women participated in the labor force, compared to 74 percent of men.

Key Terms and Definitions

Definitions of key terms used in the Women's Economic Empowerment and Gender Equality Technical Guide.


List of acronyms used in the WEEGE Technical Guide.

WEEGE Technical Guide

The Women’s Economic Empowerment and Gender Equality (WEEGE) Technical Guide was developed to enable USAID staff to design, procure, implement, monitor, and evaluate programs that increase women’s economic empowerment and gender equality outcomes.

Unit 1: Defining WEEGE

Unit 1 provides a broad overview of women’s economic empowerment and gender equality, outlining the barriers, opportunities and evidence to date and its relevance to USAID.

Advancing Gender In The Environment: Exploring The Triple Nexus Of Gender Inequality, State Fragility, And Climate Vulnerability

Across countries, gender inequality, state fragility, and climate vulnerability present challenges to the well-being of communities and the ecosystems upon which they depend. While much research exists connecting pairs of these issues—for example, the need for gender-responsive approaches to realize climate goals—little attention has been devoted to the intersection of the three issues, nor to how this ‘triple nexus’ could be taken into account toward more effective sustainable development decision-making and programming.