Capability, Confidence, and Capital: The Cornerstones of Women’s Empowerment


The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women

The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women was set up in the United Kingdom in 2008 in response to Cherie’s experience traveling across the globe with husband, then-Prime Minister Tony Blair. During her travels, Cherie met with women around the world and realized that with the right support women can overcome the challenges they face and play an important part in their economies and societies.

Our aim is primarily to support women who are building their own businesses, specifically small and growing businesses, a level just above micro enterprise. The women we work with have bright ideas and are either at the beginning of their journey or are already running small businesses but are struggling to sustain their position or expand.

According to a poll conducted by the European Foundation Center last year, organizations in Europe only spent a median of 4.8 percent of their budgets on women’s and girls’ initiatives. A recent survey on the European Union’s bilateral aid and the European Commission’s budget was slightly more encouraging but still low, with only 12 percent of aid allocated to the objective of improving girls’ and women’s lives.

Multi-sector efforts can help overcome gender inequity and discrimination — everyday challenges we face around the world — as no single sector can do the job alone.

Henriette Kolb is the Chief Executive Officer of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women. Previously she worked for the Office of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and as an advisor for Quartet Representative Tony Blair in Jerusalem. Before that she was program manager with the European Commission in the Delegation to Tanzania on health, HIV/AIDS, and governance. Henriette graduated with a Master’s of Science in Development Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. She has also held positions with German Technical Cooperation on aid modalities and international cooperation mechanisms, and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, where she worked on conflict reduction, civic education and socio-economic issues in East Africa.

The views expressed by the authors are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE). CIPE grants permission to reprint, translate, and/or publish original articles from its Economic Reform Feature Service provided that (1) proper attribution is given to the original author and to CIPE and (2) CIPE is notified where the article is placed and a copy is provided to CIPE’s Washington office.

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