SEOW: Sustainable Economic Opportunities for Women (Regional)

Key Words

Economic rights, economic empowerment, women's work, women's invisible work, care work, care economy

Background

Since 2003, CRTD.A has been working on promoting economic empowerment of women as part of its commitment to mainstreaming gender into the economy, focusing on community and capacity building, supporting projects and sharing experience locally and regionally. In 2006 CRTD.A launched a regional initiative: Sustainable Economic Opportunities for Women (SEOW), a project that was implemented from 2006 to 2009 in five Arab countries (Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco and Syria).
The aim of this regional project was to contribute to highlighting and mainstreaming women's economic rights and empowerment on policy agendas of state and non-state actors in order to contribute to the recognition and valuing of women's work and invisible economic participation.
The second phase (SEOW2) of the project started in 2010 and the Arab countries currently involved are Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Morocco.

SEOW2 key objectives 

  1. Highlighting the true contribution of women in the national economies not just in terms of their participation in the formal economy
  2. Profiling and recognizing women's role in the informal economy and particularly the care work in the national economies
  3. Identifying the real social and economic factors blocking women's economic and political advancement
  4. Increasing and strengthening the capacity of women and other groups to act on economic issues and on women's economic rights
  5. Placing women at the centre of economic debates and public programs

Strategies and activities

SEOW2 addresses the promotion of women's economic rights and participation through three components developed both locally and regionally:

  1. Knowledge production and dissemination
  2. Capacity building and mobilization of civil society organisations
  3. Policy dialogue and advocacy

Knowledge production and dissemination

Women's participation in the economy is for a large part unaccounted for in national statistics and lacks social value and recognition. SEOW2 aims at contributing in developing and disseminating data, research and studies leading to a better understanding of women's invisible work and women's real contribution to the economy. It also follows a permanent process of on-going local and regional monitoring of socio-economic policies and strategies. Dissemination of evidence and concrete proposals will lead to awareness within civil society organisations for engendering socioeconomic policies and strategies in the selected countries of the Arab Mashreq and Maghreb sub-regions. This is done through various communication tools such as: e-newsletters, country and regional issue briefs, and blogs.

Capacity building and mobilization of civil society

Women working in the informal and care economy are not to be found in national statistics, they are rarely targeted by formal development projects, thus seldom benefiting from any public investment (in training, education or health), although NGOs are largely active, especially at the micro level. Training and capacity building sessions and meetings are organized with the objective of building a core working group at national and regional levels that will be leading in strengthening and increasing knowledge around women's economic participation. Capacity building targets definitions of women's work, key concepts such as informal work, invisible work, social and cultural values dominating and influencing women's work… Moreover, another component of capacity building concerns networking and policy dialogue methods, social media and its use in promoting women's economic rights.

Policy dialogue and advocacy

Because of the "invisibility" of their economic participation, women tend to largely be left behind by women's advocacy NGOs, who generally take up more visible causes. Moreover, laws need to be reviewed and reformed in order to guarantee and protect women's economic rights from discrimination and to reinforce women's economic rights and programmes. For this purpose, SEOW2 works toward mobilising civil society organisations and relevant social institutions (e.g. national socio-economic commissions trade unions, rural and other women cooperatives, women in business, etc…) to actively commit to and engage in policy dialogue with governments and international institutions on engendering socioeconomic policies and strategies. Another activity is considered: exchanging knowledge between various stakeholders leading at latter stage to regional campaigning and advocacy.

How can you get involved?

If interested in SEOW2 project, please follow us on: http://www.facebook.com/CRTDA, http://womeneconomicrights.wordpress.com/ , www.crtda.org.lb and www.weeportal-lb.org to have the latest news and you can contribute by adding information in relation to the aim and objectives of the project, as well as initiating and participating in discussions relevant to the issues at stake.
You can also become involved in SEOW2 by taking part in its public seminars and policy dialogue activities as well as reading and disseminating its knowledge material.
 

Donors and supporters

Current donors include Oxfam Novib and Open Society Foundation

 

Project team 

Meet the SEOW2 project team…
 

Claude Hajjar

Researcher

Joelle Saade

SEOW Programme Manager 

Lina Abou-Habib

CRTD.A Executive Director

Omar Traboulsi

CRTD.A Field Work Manager

Nathalie Chemaly

President of  “Cooperative association for marketing the products of the cooperatives and rural women associations”(Namlieh)

Emilia Abilmona

Programme coordinator