Stories from older women on social protection and economic empowerment

Women around the world regularly face discrimination and disadvantages due to their gender. They will recieve less formal education and training than men, and work in informal and low-paid jobs, having to shoulder most unpaid care responsibilities. These factors have a damaging effect on the financial security of women and their overall quality of life as they age.
Social protection can enhance women’s economic autonomy, strengthen their voice and agency, and be an effective way of recognising the value of unpaid work. Read these inspiring stories from older women on social protection and economic empowerment:


“It was important for me to have an independent income that would meet the needs of my family.” Hanan Hadeeb, 60 years old, Jordan.

Through participating in various training courses for older women, Hanan became interested in natural detergents and started a business developing and selling natural shampoos. This not only provided her with an income, but gave her back her autonomy, a sense of self-worth and a new social outlet, that she felt she had lost when she retired from her career as a nurse. Read her full story here.

“I am so glad with my new shop. It gives me hope for the future. Before, I used to simply sit and wait for small rations”. Elisabeth Nyachoat Korgan, 63 years old, Ngunyyiel refugee camp.

Elisabeth escaped South Sudan when conflict broke out in her district. After a month in the Ngunyyiel refugee camp in Ethopia, she was given the opportunity to start up her own business. She no longer has to wait for rations in order to survive and now has more autonomy over her life within the camp. Read her full story here. 


“I will never fall again.” Daw Toe Ma, 78 years old, Myanmar.

Over the years, physical strain from Daw Toe Ma’s job and an eye condition has meant she can no longer see or move easily. This left her feeling depressed and isolated by her disability. However, through receiving a disability allowance she now has a source of income and more control over her future. Read her full story here. 


“Social assistance has meant so much to me.” Elisabeth Marwa, 73 years old, Kenya. 

Elisabeth Marwa’s life became unbearable when her husband of 50 years turned violent and forced her out of their home. As a single older woman she faced discrimination and poverty as she struggled to find employment. Since receiving social assistance from the Government of Kenya’s Older Persons Cash Transfer Programme, she has gained back control of her life and has been able to start her own business in Nairobi. Read her full story here.

Subscribe to our newsletter