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The Growth and Economic Opportunities for Women (GrOW) program worked with 14 research teams around the world to generate evidence on women’s economic empowerment and to promote the use of research by key decision-makers.


Women are constrained in their economic activities and face significant challenges as they try to accumulate assets and pursue better paid and more productive jobs. Deeply rooted and restrictive social norms and women’s dual roles as caregivers and breadwinners limit their choices and access to opportunities.

Our approach

For five years, GrOW has generated knowledge to determine the best ways to overcome these obstacles. It has provided evidence to inform social and economic policies that improve poor women’s lives while promoting economic growth. GrOW has helped to enhance the research capacity of young and Southern-based researchers and the program promoted the use of research by decision-makers — and these efforts will continue.

The GrOW program has:

  • Funded 14 research projects in 50 countries, primarily in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, with primary research in 18 countries and more than 45,000 participants interviewed;
  • Promoted peer-learning and knowledge exchange between research partners to share best practices and strengthen capacities;
  • Stimulated policy dialogue by helping research teams develop strategies for policy engagement and facilitating these interactions through conferences, workshops, and webinars;
  • Synthesized evidence under emerging themes to fill critical knowledge gaps.

The CA$18 million program launched in 2013 in partnership with The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the UK’s Department for International Development.

Learn more about GrOW findings in our policy briefs and working papers.

Visit the GrOW Research Series.

Read project outputs and GrOW newsletters in IDRC’s Digital Library.



Explore research projects that we support.


Remote video URL

This video provides an overview of the GrOW program and describes the major challenges to women’s economic empowerment in Africa and ways forward.


Remote video URL

This video highlights constraints and opportunities for women working in artisanal and small scale mining in Uganda.


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