Over the last few years, the U.S. Department of State has worked to encourage young girls throughout Southeast Asia to utilize their skills for careers in math, science, technology, and engineering.

The program, called Tech Age Girls (TAG), is “leveraging communications technology to connect young women in Philippines and Vietnam with learning resources and mentors,” according to the State Department.

In January, the State Department held the first TAG conference in Hanoi, hosting 30 talented young girls out of a pool of 376 applicants, from Vietnam and the Philippines to participate in improving their digital communications and leadership skills. The girls also participated in mini-internships, and could consult with female mentors throughout the conference.

At the second conference, held in the Philippines, an additional 28 girls improved their knowledge of communications relating to increasing globalization, and also received information on career opportunities and community service projects.

The State Department hopes that by providing the girls with positive mentors and the tools to pursue careers in fields where females are underrepresented through the TAG program, they will be able to positively impact their own communities throughout Southeast Asia.

Christina Kindlon

Source: US State Department



Women Entrepreneurs: The Answer to Poverty?Last week, President Barack Obama highlighted the charge to the American public to assist in the eradication of extreme global poverty. When the world’s poor rise out of poverty and live better, the world is positively affected and inequality is decreased. The United States benefits both economically and in terms of security when more people escape poverty.

Where then should the US apply its funds to attain this ultimate goal of eliminating poverty?

One area is entrepreneurship. There has been widespread micro-success in small-scale businesses in Liberia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. The access and pursuit of consistent incomes for families allow for poverty alleviation. The increase in incomes allows for greater economic opportunity via safer and healthier living conditions, as well as better access to education.

Funding the endeavors of entrepreneurship in developing countries is a critical part of this answer. The large scale US corporations of Coca Cola, Dell, Exxon Mobil, and Goldman Sachs are alongside governmental leaders in the push for small-scale entrepreneur funding. Furthermore, the growing focus on women’s entrepreneurial capabilities and access to self-improvement are crucial for development. These large corporations aid in the training of more women entrepreneurs.

The Cherie Blair Foundation is a non-governmental organization that focuses on providing personal aid to women. They encourage the participation of more women in local markets and technology processes.

The largest challenges to women entering the entrepreneur field are the “access to finances, markets, and skills-building and networks.” Therefore, the fight to involve women and create a more fluid environment for women participation is crucial to fighting such a large part of global poverty.

Nigeria and Ghana are good examples, where recently more women than men are starting businesses. Sub-Saharan Africa is not far behind.

The strides being taken to put women in pertinent roles of small businesses and markets are helping combat global poverty. Yet, there is much to be done and the US is fully capable of helping women, men, and children across the globe to attain greater access to resources.

Evan Walker

Source: Huffington Post
Photo: CSMonitor