Asian Development Bank

How Inclusive is Inclusive Business for Women

Inclusive businesses are commercially viable business models that provide in-scale innovative and systemic solutions to problems relevant to the lives of low-income people. Inclusive business companies often involve women in their value chain and provide specific services that help low-income women. This report assesses the extent to which inclusive business models promote women's economic empowerment. Examples come from the inclusive business portfolios of Asian Development Bank, Inter-American Development Bank and International Finance Corporation. The report finds that inclusive businesses are indeed bringing positive change to women’s lives and that addressing gender-based constraints also yields business benefits. However, a company’s financial return and its social impact can be maximized only if companies understand and address systemic issues of gender inequality.
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