The economic empowerment of women is a crucial development issue, with digital skills and tools are essential to helping business women cope with the economic shock from the pandemic and grow their businesses. ICT4D solutions like digital financial services can create economic opportunities for women and bridge the economic gender gap by increasing their participation in the financial system.
However, there is a persistent digital gender gap of at least 11% in many developing countries countries due to cost, skills, perceptions of relevance, and safety concerns that effect women more than men. One of the primary barriers to closing the gender digital divide is ability, in addition to affordability, availability and appetite, according to USAID’s Gender Digital Divide Primer.
The social and economic consequences of the gender digital divide will continue to grow without a concerted effort to understand the needs of women-owned small businesses and the linkage between digital finance services and women’s economic empowerment. We need to find ways to increase women’s use of digital tools for economic advancement.
$500,000 Women’s Economic Empowerment Research Grants
The Women’s Economic Empowerment and Digital Finance Initiative is aimed at generating a comprehensive body of evidence on the pathways between digital financial services and women’s economic empowerment in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa.
The current call for proposals will focus on three levels of funding:
- $500,000 Large-scale Greenfield Evaluations: Intended for greenfield projects explicitly designed on strong theoretical grounding to target key questions in the initiative’s research agenda.
- $200,000 Extensions to Existing Studies: Intended to add extensions to existing experimental research designs that would yield results of central relevance to the initiative’s research agenda.
- $50,00 Pilot Studies: These proposals are intended to stimulate early pilot fieldwork to explore promising opportunities for future large-scale projects.
The research should expand our understanding the pathways or causal mechanisms between digital financial services and women’s economic empowerment, as well as ways to overcome the existing barriers to women’s access to digital financial services.
Apply now! Deadline is March 3, 2022
$600,000 Women’s Digital Inclusion Challenge
The Digital Asia Accelerator is launching the Women’s Digital Inclusion Challenge to find partners across the Southeast Asia region that have delivered successful digital upskilling programs for women and micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). The Challenge targets organizations looking to scale their operations to reach new countries and communities who have:
- Proven strategies for addressing the gender digital divide that have already been successfully delivered results for women-led MSMEs in at least one ASEAN member state.
- Experience in assessing the use of digital technologies and key barriers to digital adoption for MSMEs, and developing and delivering digital training support to women-led MSMEs.
- Strong understanding of the local context and barriers faced by women in their target communities.
- Relevant networks in Southeast Asia or Mongolia.
Three organizations will receive $200,000 grants to strengthen women-led MSMEs’ digital capabilities and their ability to engage in the digital economy. The grants will also help the organizations expand their operations to serve new MSME segments and countries across the region.
Apply Now! Deadline is March 4, 2022