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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.

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 (FLFP) 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 fundamental 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 enhancing women’s agency by leveraging the transformative potential of women’s empowerment collectives.

Accordingly, IWWAGE focuses on three thematic areas: Barriers to Work, Quality of Work, and Women’s Agency.


Our team includes economists, gender experts, development practitioners, and policy experts who come with extensive experience of working on women’s empowerment.


Sharon Buteau

Executive Director, LEAD at Krea University

Sona Mitra

Principal Economist, IWWAGE

Preethi Rao

Associate Director, LEAD at Krea University

Aniruddha Brahmachari

Head, Research,
LEAD at Krea University


Aikantika Das

Documentation Specialist

Ankita Sharma

Senior Research Associate

Atiya Anis

Senior Communication Manager

Ayushi Gupta

Research Associate

Kaliat Ammu Sanyal

Senior Research Manager

Kanika Kingra

Senior Policy & Advocacy Manager

Kumar Das

Senior Research Manager

Moumita Sarkar

Senior Policy & Program Manager

Neelanjana Gupta

Project Manager

Neeraj Upadhyay

Business Manager

Nidhi Gyan Pandey

Research Associate


Research Manager

Preeti Bawa

Senior Administrative Manager

Prita Das Gupta

Technical Expert-State Coordination

Rhitabrita Mukherjee

Senior Research Associate