Women’s Economic Empowerment

A time to act - Season One Episode 05

Credits Priscilla Mora Flores
Audio file
Published on December 4, 2020

Investing in women’s economic empowerment sets a direct path towards gender equality, poverty eradication and inclusive economic growth. In all sectors, from businesses to unpaid work at home, women make enormous contributions to the economy.

However, women remain disproportionately affected by poverty, violence and discrimination as well as socio-economic and climate-related shocks and disasters. Indeed, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the disproportionate effects of the socio-economic impact of the pandemic. Women have been pushed further into poverty, faced unemployment, faced an increase in gender-based violence and have been participating more in unpaid work at home.

There is an urgent need to refocus policy and programmes to be fully responsive to the rights, priorities of women. Supporting women’s economic empowerment means recognising intersecting inequalities and developing focused responses aimed at achieving transformative change in women’s lives.

Working with a variety of partners, the Joint SDG Fund’s aims to make transformative change in the policy and programmes impacting women. These include innovative concepts that promote women entrepreneurship and access to economic opportunities. From cash-transfer programmes to micro-financing loan opportunities and gender-responsive budgeting, investing in gender equality and women’s empowerment can help eradicate extreme poverty, build vibrant economies, and unlock human potential on a transformational scale.


Allegra Baiocchi, United Nations Resident Coordinator, Costa Rica 

Sam Vaghar, Advisor to UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo and Social Entrepreneur for Millenium Campus Network

Moderated by Lisa Kurbiel, Head of Secretariat, Joint SDG Fund


The Panelists

Costa Rica - BAIOCCHI, Allegra

Allegra Baiocchi

United Nations Resident Coordinator, Costa Rica

Ms. Baiocchi brings more than 20 years of experience in development, humanitarian and peace and security work to the position, acquired at the United Nations and externally.  Within the Organization, she most recently served as the Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in Cameroon.  She also held senior positions at the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations in Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Senegal, Sudan and South Sudan, as well as at Headquarters in New York and Geneva.

Sam Vaghar

Advisor to UN Women Executive, Director Phumzile Mlambo and Social Entrepreneur for Millenium Campus Network

Sam Vaghar is a social entrepreneur committed to helping young people own their voice and power for social impact. With over a decade of impact co-founding and leading Millennium Campus Network (MCN), Sam has helped launch the Millennium Fellowship: a student movement for the UN Sustainable Development Goals in 20 nations. Sam has given talks at over 100 institutions worldwide, including at Harvard University, MIT, the White House, the United Nations, the Vatican, and on speaking tours across four nations for the U.S. Department of State. In addition, Sam serves on multiple Boards, including serving as an Advisor to the Executive Director of UN Women.