This article is about women’s economic empowerment within the United Nations Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda. Based on analysis of the core agenda-setting documents, it traces where the two different versions of women’s economic empowerment, “liberal” (including women in the formal economy) and “liberating” (women collectively mobilizing to challenge the status quo) appear in the WPS agenda. It argues that the two exist in uneasy tension in the UN’s aspirations for women’s economic security and well-being, but that when it comes to actual activities and achievements, the liberal version dominates over the liberating version. The article argues that it is important not to overstate the divide between the two approaches, and that the seeds of a liberating approach can be found within the liberal. It is initiatives to facilitate women’s economic empowerment that contain opportunities for collective action to transform the structures of the economy that WPS advocates should push for in order to strengthen and deepen the WPS agenda.
- economic empowerment
- United Nations