REST approaches women’s empowerment in the context of gender equality, focusing on economic as well as social and political empowerment. REST works to reduce the disproportionate level of poverty among women, as well as facilitating and practically supporting shifts in power relations and status within the home and in public life. REST addresses existing gender gaps in livelihood opportunities and outcomes with targeted income generation activities, including women in married households and women headed households, and there is a very strong focus on increasing women’s knowledge and skill base, including targeted functional literacy training, livelihood related technical training and advice, confidence building and business development and entrepreneurship skills. In program implementation, we strongly promote greater equality in household decision making and community affairs, including higher representation of women in local development institutions and committees.
Internally, as part of REST’s Gender Policy, REST prioritizes women of equal experience and qualification in filling vacant posts, and offers women staff opportunities to study and gain additional qualifications from outside institutions, to improve their career opportunities within REST. We recognize there is still much to do and will intensify our focus on shifting the gender balance among staff at more senior levels especially.