Throughout South Asia, women in business have faced several barriers to achieving full civic and economic participation. To tackle these challenges, the South Asia Regional Women’s Economic Network has helped amplify women’s empowerment in the region. Supported by CIPE, the network has been able to effectively advocate for policy reforms that create more opportunities for women-owned businesses. This network is comprised of women business associations from Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, India, and Sri Lanka.
The achievements of the network continue to show that now, more than ever, focusing on women’s economic growth is key to strengthening democracy. For example, Multan, in South Punjab, and Peshawar—both cities in turbulent regions—are home to large artisan communities consisting mainly of women working on hand embroidery and handcrafted textiles. Despite challenges for women to participate economically and politically, both the Southern Punjab and Peshawar Women’s Chamber pushed the government to change a policy that was impeding the earning potential of women artisans. Eventually, the State Bank issued policy instructions that led to lengthening the amount of time that artisans have to pay back their loans. Extending credit will help them in fulfilling orders, and allows them to plan purchases and sales further in advance, with less pressure for rapid repayment.
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Posted on11 April, 2017byCIPE Staff|Comments Off on Democracy That Delivers Podcast #63: Christian Caryl on the Challenges Facing Democracy Around the World
Left: Podcast guest Christian Caryl and guest host Frank Brown
On this week’s Democracy that Delivers podcast, editor of the Washington Post’s DemocracyPost blog, Christian Caryl, discusses the challenges facing democracy around the world and whether we are at a major inflection point in history. He talks about the current crisis facing western democracy and why its implications are vitally important for Americans.
Caryl, a self-described “troll magnet,” also talks about the difficulty of countering fake news and the Russian information war. He explains the rules that guide the work of journalists in the United States, and how increasing media literacy is important for rebuilding the public’s trust in the media.
Read DemocracyPosthere and follow Caryl on Twitter @ccaryl.
Southeast Asia is currently home to around 8% of the world’s population. Collectively, the countries that comprise Southeast Asia – Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam – are projected to become the fourth largest economy globally by 2050, with a combined workforce that is already the third largest in the world – after China and India. The region has experienced rapid economic growth over the past decade and exhibits tremendous diversity in terms of ethnicity, culture, religion and income levels. The establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015 signaled a strong support from members for closer economic integration of these diverse populations.
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It is Inauguration Week here in Washington, DC and in honor of this important symbol of democracy we are highlighting two conversations that have taken place on the podcast over the last year that focus on democratic and economic development and the link between the two:
Podcast guest Claude Fontheim (left) with hosts Julie Johnson and Ken Jaques.
In the first podcast throwback episode, CIPE Board member Claude Fontheim talked about how the rule of law, transparency, and good governance underpin strong, inclusive development. Fontheim explained that investment alone is not enough and that support for public institutions is needed to ensure that the benefits of trade and economic growth reach all segments of society. He discussed the direct link between development around the world and U.S. national security interests. Fontheim also talked about how U.S. companies contribute to the good governance of countries they invest in, and how they partner with NGOs and civil society to support initiatives in sectors such as health, education, and women’s rights.
Guest Dr. Kim Holmes (center) with hosts Jennifer Anderson and Ken Jaques.
In the second, Distinguished Fellow at The Heritage Foundation and recently returned CIPE Board member (after a 15 year hiatus) Dr. Kim Holmes discussed how his views on democratic and economic development have evolved through the years. Holmes explained specifically how his views on the role of economic development in conflict zones has changed and why. He also talked at length about his new book, The Closing of the Liberal Mind: How Groupthink and Intolerance Define the Left.
Posted on10 January, 2017byCIPE Staff|Comments Off on Democracy that Delivers Podcast #50: Marc Schleifer on Democratic Trends in Europe, Eurasia, and South Asia
Podcast guest Marc Schleifer
CIPE Regional Director for Europe, Eurasia, and South Asia Marc Schleifer works on democracy projects in vastly different parts of the globe. On today’s episode of the Democracy that Delivers podcast he discusses the trends that are affecting the health and development of democracy in his areas of focus, including the attitudes and outlooks of the citizens in each region.
Schleifer describes his early interest in social issues and how his fascination with Russia led to eight years living in the country working in law and international development (and his brief stint as a rock musician). His recollections from this time, including the exciting and chaotic mood in pre-Putin Russia, contrast sharply with his assessment of Russia both today and in the near future. He also talks about the rise in populist sentiment in many parts of the world and challenges us to avoid knee-jerk reactions and look at the political and economic developments behind it.
This past September was my second time visiting Papua New Guinea (PNG), known as “the land for opportunity.” From my experiences there, this phrase is no exaggeration. PNG is a country full of untapped (natural) resources, talents, and compassionate people who love their country and are devoted to their families. But, despite these advantages, gender inequality is crippling development in PNG.
Driving around town in Port Moresby, you can see street vendors selling all sorts of locally made goods and products. At a recently established Market Expo, you can purchase beautiful “bilum bags” and coffee beans, among other items, from the highland regions that are unique to PNG. But these products have untold stories behind them in that many were handmade by women whose meager income is solely dedicated to supporting her family while her spouse’s income is not shared. When and if the family is taken care of, these women are left with nothing else to spend, undercutting their independence and leaving them vulnerable to their spouses’ abuse.
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Syria now has one of the lowest education rates in the world. A 2015 Save the Children report estimates that 2.8 million Syrian children are not attending school and a quarter of school buildings have been damaged or destroyed. Many youth must forego education and work to help their families survive. Yet what often gets lost in this picture is the resilience shown by many young Syrians and their determination to play a role in building a better Syria.
The CIPE Development Blog provides coverage of the Center for International Private Enterprise and its partner network at work -- highlighting successes, drawing out lessons from failure, and exploring the broader issues of political and economic development. For more information visit CIPE.org.