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Initiative for What Works to Advance Women and Girls in the Economy (IWWAGE) aims to build on existing research and generate new evidence to inform and facilitate the agenda of women’s economic empowerment.

IWWAGE is an initiative of LEAD, an action-oriented research centre of IFMR Society (a not for profit society registered under the Societies Act). LEAD has strategic oversight and brand support from Krea University (sponsored by IFMR Society) to enable synergies between academia and the research centre. IWWAGE is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Experts at IWWAGE are available to provide analysis, commentary, data, and unique expertise on the issues focussed on gender and women’s economic empowerment that are driving the news cycle. You can find out more about our experts here.


Global evidence shows that women make a significant contribution to the economy, yet they continue to be disproportionately affected by poverty, discrimination and exploitation. Despite economic growth, decline in fertility rates of women, and rise in schooling and improved learning outcomes for girls, female labour force participation levels in India remain alarmingly low, with only one out of every five women of working age in the work force. Women’s access to resources, assets and other rights and entitlements also continues to remain low, leading to limited to no impacts on other social development outcomes. Economic empowerment of women is critical to achieving gender equality and inclusive growth.

IWWAGE was set up to address this challenge. It attempts to shift the evidence base from “How” to “What Works” to improve women’s participation in economic activities by addressing barriers to women’s work, facilitating women’s access to decent work and economic resources, and leveraging the transformative potential of women’s empowerment collectives (WECs).

For more information, please visit our website.

Contact Information

For any press/media enquiries, please write to Communications Manager, [email protected] and [email protected]

Press Coverage

Gender Samvaad held to focus on women’s collectives in responding to COVID-19, Devdiscourse News Desk

Ministry of Rural Development’s DAY-NRLM and IWWAGE host Gender Samvaad, DD News

National Rural Livelihood Mission, PIB

Investigating gender disparities in India’s vaccine rollout, Hindustan Times

Marriage reduces likelihood of urban women’s participation in workforce: Study, Deccan Herald

The number of working women in India has been steadily declining here’s why, Business Insider

Higher household income, lower education levels determinants of women’s labour force participation, The Economics Times

What’s keeping women away from the workforce? A new study finds out, Forbes

IWWAGE Study highlights reasons for declining female labour force participation in India, BW Online Bureau

How women are shaping political fortunes in India, Hindustan Times

The increased burden of unpaid work on women during Covid-19, Business Line

How did India’s Women Enterprises Fare during the COVID-19 Lockdown?, Engage EPW

Women’s Leadership in COVID-19 Response: Self-help Groups the National Rural Livelihoods Mission Show the way, Engage EPW

Overcoming Precarity: How informal Women Workers Coped  During COVID-19, Engage EPW

High Risk without Recognition: Challenges Faced by Female Front-line Workers, Engage EPW

जेंडर संवाद का मकसद राज्यों से जमीनी स्तर की आवाजों को सुनना और उनके अनुभवों को जानना भी है, PIB

Gender Samvaad event launched,

Gender Samvaad’s  focus is on hearing voices from the states and the field, PIB Delhi

‘I Can’t Earn More than Rs 125 A Day No Matter How Hard I Work”, IndiaSpend

The Pandemic’s Childcare Crisis is Pushing Women to the Brink of Poverty, THE SWADDLE

How Digital Technologies Can Break the Many Barriers Faced by Women, NEWS 18

New Gates Foundation Research Calls For Focus On Childcare For Gender Equitable Covid-19 Recovery, Forbes

Future is Female, But Why are Women Leaders Missing from India’s Political Arena?, News 18

Where are India’s women leaders?, Hindustan Times

Lack of Mentoring, Networking Hold Back Women Entrepreneurs, IndiaSpend

Women Run Fewer Than 13% of India’s Small Businesses., IndiaSpend

Its time to compensate women’s unpaid labour, IDR

Budgeting for women, The Indian Express

An urban employment scheme that is responsive to women’s needs, ET HR World

 Recognising housework: is paying the only way?, Hindustan Times

How can policies for women’s empowerment be more impactful?, IDR

Women Hit More Severely from COVID Impact on Employment, SheThePeople

India’s gender budget yet to shift from policy to on-ground priorities, Forbes

Pandemic and the gender divide, The Indian Express

Budget 2021 Expectations: A budget full of hope, Financial Express

Prioritize skilling, bridge the digital divide: Expectations from the Union Budget 2021, People Matters

How Covid-19 pandemic has affected women workers in Delhi,, IndiaSpend

From Delhi, A view of women’s work hit by the pandemic, IndiaSpend

Women’s share in urban labour force just at 10.3 per cent, Express News Service

Women In Work: How India Fared In 2020; IWWAGE India’s Report, BW Online Bureau

How covid-19 changed the relationship of women with the workplace, Team Lounge

The Radical Idea of Making Sure Everybody Has Enough Money To Live On, Future Proof

Gig Jobs Give Women Higher Income But Little Security, IndiaSpend

India cannot bounce back if it leaves its women behind, HerStory

 Women Hold Up Economy Yet Continue To Disappear From Workforce , IndiaSpend

To Get More Women In Paid Jobs, Enlist The Men, IndiaSpend

How Official Data Miss Details On Half Of India’s Citizens, IndiaSpend

Looking at social protection for gig workers through a gender lens, Business Line

The Radical Idea of Making Sure Everybody has Enough Money to Live on,

Looking at social protection for gig workers through a gender lens, The Hindu

‘It’s a question of survival now’: Pandemic puts India’s women even further behind economically, The Globe and Mail

e-Governance Push: Leveraging social capital of SHGs: NRLM’s response to COVID-19, Economic Times

India’s Gig Economy: the Future of Work for Women?, CEOWORLD

The harm covid is causing to women entrepreneurs, LiveMint

Why society owes Asha workers a debt, HT

Do Indian women hold up half the sky?, CNBC 18

Is Covid forcing women out of jobs in India?, BBC News

85% Women Feel Flexibility And Autonomy Are The Most Attractive Features In Gig Economy, Business World

Big story: Making it work for women, Forbes India

This gender research and advocacy group is implementing large scale interventions for economic empowerment of women, HerStory

We Cannot Have a Lockdown Exit Strategy Which Ignores Women, The Wire

Increasing the participation of women in the workforce: Role of quality childcare, Business World

Why are there fewer women workers in India?, Business Today

Artwork and Resources

All publications under Resources are open access publication. Reproduction of these publications for educational or other non-commercial purpose is authorised, without prior written permission, provided the source is fully acknowledged. Please get in touch with us at [email protected] or [email protected] regarding our branding guidelines.


IWWAGE is developing proof-of concepts by testing gender transformative interventions that are policy-relevant and have the potential to be scaled up and replicated in other contexts, with a focus on WECs, and women’s digital capacity for information sharing, skilling, and communication.

IWWAGE generates, synthesises and promotes rigorous evidence on its three thematic areas, namely, Barriers to Work, Quality of Work, and Women’s Agency, using three approaches. These include deepening of the evidence base, testing solutions, and advocating, communicating and developing capacity of policymakers and influencers involved in accelerating Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE).

We work with national and state governments, NGOs, research institutions and think tanks, bilateral and multilateral donors, collectives, and private sector organisations. For further details visit our partners page on the IWWAGE website.  IWWAGE is working closely with Ministry of Rural Development under the SWAYAM project.

Under the SWAYAM project, IWWAGE is partnering with State Rural Livelihoods Missions in four states including, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Odisha, and several implementing partners to pilot and scale institutional models for self-help group (SHG) federations to serve as gender resource centres.

IWWAGE is also working with Chhattisgarh’s State Rural Livelihoods Mission (Bihan) and other key stakeholders in the ecosystem to generate evidence and test how digital solutions can enable SHGs to strengthen women’s social and economic empowerment.

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