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Technology and the City: Routes to Women’s Economic Empowerment

Women’s economic empowerment is critical for achieving women’s rights and gender equality, poverty reduction, and economic growth. Yet urban spaces pose significant barriers to progress, including limited mobility, safety risks, and lack of information and networks to access better economic opportunities. Increasingly, technology-based solutions are being developed to overcome these challenges, which can have particularly significant benefits in the Global South.

What would a 21st-century city that enables women’s economic empowerment look like? What helps or hinders technology’s potential to advance progress? How can women’s control and decisionmaking over the technologies best suited to their needs be supported, including women most at risk of being left behind by technological development?

The Urban Institute, in collaboration with the Overseas Development Institute and the International Development Research Centre, hosted a discussion on the opportunities and challenges posed by technology. We considered the roles of diverse stakeholders (e.g., policymakers, technology developers, and women’s groups) in ensuring that technology supports urban women’s economic empowerment. 



  • Mayra Buvinic, senior fellow,  Center for Global Development and the United Nations Foundation, United States
  • Abigail Hunt, senior research officer, Overseas Development Institute, United Kingdom
  • Yasemin Irvin-Erickson, senior research associate, Urban Institute, United States
  • Ammar Malik, senior research associate, Urban Institute, United States
  • Madiha Ahmed, senior program specialist, social and economic policy, International Development Research Centre, Canada (moderator)
Event Materials

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Photo by Asian Development Bank/Flickr Creative Commons


Date & Time Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Urban Institute 2100 M St NW
5th floor
Washington , DC , 20037
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  • Nonresident Fellow