Strive Women: Her Business, Her Financial Future

Our programs

Supporting women entrepreneurs to grow their businesses, confidence, resilience, and control.

A woman working in Ban Thi Tham’s tea cooperative, Vietnam. Credit: Bui Hoang Quan / CARE Vietnam

Why this program?

  • Women do not have equal access to financial products; 80% of women-owned small businesses with credit needs are either unserved or underserved, representing a $1.7 trillion USD financing gap (UNSGSA, 2018).
  • Top barriers for women for mobile ownership and mobile internet use are: affordability, literacy and skills, safety and security, and family does not approve. Women in low- and middle-income countries are 28% less likely than men to own a mobile money account (GSMA, 2023).
  • Women have limited financial decision-making power in their own businesses. In Pakistan, only 55% of women entrepreneurs were the main decision-maker, rising to 69% in Peru and 75% in Vietnam (CARE, 2022)
  • On average, worldwide, women spend 2.4+ more hours per day on unpaid care work compared to men (World Bank, 2022).
Women visit a textiles manufacturer as part of an Ignite market exposure visit, Pakistan. Credit: Zeesham Azam / CARE International in Pakistan

Program overview

Strive Women, a four-year program led by CARE and supported by the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, strengthens the financial health of women-led small businesses in Pakistan, Peru, and Vietnam.

Working with local partners, Strive Women takes a women-centered design approach to deliver tailored financial products and support services, such as digital skills-building and strengthening women’s networks. The program addresses the unique gender barriers faced by women-led businesses and tests innovations related to the climate crisis and childcare, which both disproportionately impact women. Strive Women is also activating an inclusive ecosystem of stakeholders.

While the program will directly support over 300,000 entrepreneurs to feel confident, resilient, in control, and equipped to grow their businesses, Strive Women aims to reach over 6 million entrepreneurs through its campaigns. Strive Women supports micro and small enterprises, 70% of which will be women-led with at least two employees, and who have been in business for at least two years. These women-led small businesses are critical contributors to economies, communities, and households worldwide.

By focusing on the financial health of women entrepreneurs, the program supports them to balance both household and business cashflows, prepare for and manage financial shocks, and increase their decision-making power.

About CARE

Founded in 1945 with the creation of the CARE Package®, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE places special focus on working alongside women and girls. Equipped with the proper resources, women and girls have the power to lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty. This year, CARE and partners worked in 111 countries implementing 1,600 poverty-fighting development and humanitarian aid projects and initiatives that reached 174,000,000 people. To learn more, visit

Women's Entrepreneurship (WE) at CARE aims to improve financial security and economic empowerment for 3 million entrepreneurs and employees, reach 30 million people, and mobilize more than $500m USD in private capital by 2030.

Markets continue to fail women, who still lack access to the capital and support they need to grow their small businesses and reach their full economic power. Through Strive Women and our partnership with Mastercard, we are convening local partners to deliver a holistic and impactful set of services that women entrepreneurs want and need. We invite those committed to the financial health and inclusion of women entrepreneurs to join us to build a more equitable ecosystem.

Rathi Mani-Kandt

Director of Women’s Entrepreneurship and Financial Inclusion, CARE USA

Implementation partners
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