Advancing Women’s Empowerment for Inclusive Growth

Ivdad Ahmed Khan Mojlish
November 29, 2022
Advancing Women’s Empowerment for Inclusive Growth

This letter was first published in the Bimonthly Newsletter of October 2022.

Dear Friends and Patrons:

Did you know that women’s economic empowerment is changing consumption patterns? This could deliver as much as one-fifth of additional consumption growth in Asia over the next decade. Bangladesh’s most recent Population and Housing Census 2022 shows that, for the first time, women are outnumbering men. Therefore, if we harness the power of women effectively, we will reap significant economic benefits. The economic empowerment of women can unlock significant opportunities for more inclusive growth.

  1. New opportunities for women through higher labor participation
  2. Shift by women into higher-income occupations
  3. Increased digital and financial inclusion
  4. Women in making decisions within the household and at work

However, we must first understand how to make women’s empowerment more sustainable, as it necessitates –

  • The transformation of subordinate structures
  • The control of material and intellectual resources
  • The ability to make decisions
  • The exercise of authority
  • The reduction of gender inequality

Contrary to popular belief, gender is more of a spectrum than a binary concept. It could refer to various roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes representing numerous and diverse groups. In the context of Bangladesh, Gender Lens or Gender Inclusion often refers to the inclusion and participation of women – customers, suppliers, entrepreneurs, staff et al. By taking a holistic approach with regards to incorporating gender analysis into any sphere, could we allow for our society to grow inclusively, with equity and fairness.

At LightCastle, one of our missions is to empower women and women-led enterprises in rural and urban settings. We explicitly leverage research, technical assistance, capacity development, and advocacy initiatives in this regard.

Biniyog Briddhi

To share a few examples, our work with Biniyog Briddhi – a multi-year programme dedicated to supporting a thriving ecosystem where impact enterprises of Bangladesh can grow and scale their impact, set up as a public-private development partnership (PPDP) between the Embassy of Switzerland in Bangladesh, Roots of Impact and LightCastle Partners – strives to improve the financial, social and environmental performance of impact enterprises by helping them to master investment readiness and impact management and get ready to access innovative finance to scale.


Building on the pilot “SheMeansBusiness” program in Bangladesh with Meta, in collaboration with a2i and BWCCI, we are currently scaling up our efforts, aiming to develop the digital capacity of 10,000 women-led MSMEs from all over Bangladesh so that they can leverage digital channels to drive business performance.

Assessment of Financial Products for Women in Bangladesh

Recently, we also concluded a study with a2i on “Assessing the Current Ecosystem of Financial Products for Women in Bangladesh,” which talks about the gaps and, more importantly, the strategies to overcome those challenges to foster greater financial inclusion for women. You can learn more about some of our other works on gender inclusion on our website.

Enabling Women’s Economic Empowerment through Digital Financial Inclusion

Additionally, we have also been supporting the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs (MoWCA) and World Food Programme (WFP) in enabling greater digital financial inclusion for vulnerable women benefitting from the government’s social safety net programs.

Way Forward

Any transformation requires time, and specifically, sustained efforts are critical to addressing diverse challenges. Embedding a gender lens approach while working on systems and processes can help development partners, private organizations, and government agencies make a quantum leap toward true diversity. To that end, there’s never been a better time than now to act on making a real difference.

WRITTEN BY: Ivdad Ahmed Khan Mojlish

Ivdad Ahmed Khan Mojlish is the Co-founder and Managing Director of LightCastle Partners. He loves to read, travel and passionately work at the intersection of development and technology. He has an MBA from the Fuqua School of Business, Duke University, and has previously completed BBA from Institute of Business Administration (IBA), University of Dhaka.

For further clarifications, contact here: [email protected]

Want to collaborate with us?

Our experts can help you solve your unique challenges

Join Our Newsletter

Stay up-to-date with our Thought Leadership and Insights