The Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment Act (WEE) of 2018, H.R. 5480, was introduced in the House earlier this month. The House of Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce and Representative Louis Frankle (D-FL-22), Co-Chair of the bipartisan Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues, worked together to propose this bipartisan legislation.
“By confronting these barriers women face, we can help lift people out of poverty and drive economic growth – by some estimates adding trillions of dollars to annual global GDP,” says Chairman Royce.
Introduction to the WEE Bill
The aim of the WEE bill is to improve the status of women worldwide through empowerment and education so that women play a greater role in entrepreneurship. An introduction to the “Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment Act” means that the bill would supplement programs that promote women’s economic roles through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The “Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment Act” specifically focuses on:
- Ensuring the reduction of gender disparities including gender-based violence, women’s property rights and economic participation as part of U.S. policy
- Ensuring that all USAID programs incorporate gender-specific issues in attempts to empower women
- Advocating for small and medium-sized enterprises that are owned, controlled or managed by women
- Increasing women’s use and jurisdiction over resources such as land and financial inclusion
It’s no secret that the majority of the world’s poor are women. According to the U.N. Women Deputy Executive Director, Lakshmi Puri, “If women and men have the equal access to land, technology, financial services, education and markets, the consequent 20-30 percent increase in agricultural production on women’s farms could lead to 100-150 million less hungry people.”
U.N. Women and Women Everywhere
The Borgen Project’s main goal is to eliminate global poverty; nevertheless, the facts cannot be ignored that when women play a greater role in the economy, it brings innumerable benefits to the nation and the world as a whole. According to U.N. Women, by increasing female labor force participation, education, shared household income, and women’s overall participation in the economic world, it would bring exponential benefits to the country as a whole.
Not only would economic empowerment bring millions of families out of poverty, child mortality would decrease and economies grow faster. Finally, the Mckinsey Global Institute study proposes that “closing gender gaps in labour-force participation rates, part-time versus full-time work and the composition of employment would add 12-25 percent to global GDP by 2025.”
An introduction to the “Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment Act” understands the obstacles when empowering women’s economic standing. The bill symbolizes a step in the right direction for U.S. efforts to help eliminate global poverty.
– Emma Martin