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Strive Women in Peru

A group of Peruvian women wearing black aprons pose and smile under a sign that says

Strive Women in Peru supports women entrepreneurs to feel confident, resilient, in control, and equipped to grow their businesses, so they gain economic power in their households, communities, and economies.


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 micro & small businesses in Peru. These businesses are the backbone of Peruvian economies, make better credit customers, are fast adopters of ecommerce, and have proven to reinvest in their households and local communities.

Working with local partners, Strive Women in Peru takes a women-centered design approach to understand the needs of women entrepreneurs and deliver tailored financial products and support services, such as capacity building, digital skills enhancement, and women’s network strengthening. 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.

The opportunity

Investing in women entrepreneurs in Peru is not just about fairness; it’s a strategic step towards economic equality and sustainable development. Peru, like other Latin American countries, faces a massive financing gap for women-led enterprises and micro-businesses (Schroeders, 2023). In financial inclusion overall, Peru exhibits a significant gender gap, with men 9 percentage points more likely than women to have a formal bank account (Global Findex, 2021).

Persistent societal expectations, highlighted by CARE’s gender norms research, burden women with caregiving responsibilities, as evidenced by the significant disparity in time spent on unpaid tasks and paid work activities, with Peruvian women dedicating 24 more hours per week to unpaid tasks than men (OECD, 2022). In addition to harmful gender norms, women’s financial inclusion in Peru is hindered by labor market inequalities, poor product design, high costs, lower trust in financial institutions, and limited financial education opportunities (World Bank, 2022). Despite these challenges, over 2.3 million micro and small businesses in Peru are led by women (GovPeru, 2022), highlighting both the resilience of women entrepreneurs and the opportunity they represent– fueling the potential for economic growth, job creation, and social change.

Our focus

Strive Women in Peru supports micro and small enterprises formal and informal, 90% of which will be women-led with at least two employees, and who have been in business for at least two years. Building on the success of the prior phase called Ignite, the program runs from 2023 to 2027 in Peru, where women face multiple gender barriers and there are large segments of unserved and underserved micro and small businesses ready for investment.


Latest Resources

Gender Norms Study in Peru

This study identifies gender barriers and perceptions faced by women entrepreneurs in Peru.

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Mastercard Strive

Strive Women is part of Mastercard Strive, a global portfolio of philanthropic programs aimed at helping small businesses around the world thrive in the digital economy. The program is implemented by CARE, supported by the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, and funded with a $9 million USD investment from the Mastercard Impact Fund.