Democracy in Action: International Women's Day

Women make extraordinary contributions to socio-economic development, yet they continue to be marginalized in many countries around the world. One of the challenges in building democracy that delivers is ensuring fair and open economic, political, and civic participation for women in society.

To honor the 102nd annual International Women’s Day on March 8, this edition of Democracy in Action focuses on CIPE’s approach to women’s empowerment. Women’s empowerment should not be driven by simply bestowing or extending power to women. Instead, to be truly empowered, women must develop their power base, advocate for reform, and exert their own leadership to change their operating environment politically, culturally, and economically. Read more about CIPE's multifaceted approach to women's programming here.

The CIPE Guide to Women's Empowerment Programs

Work on women’s empowerment should extend beyond helping or training individual women. In many countries, institutions affect women differently than men, and without focus on institutional reform it is difficult to achieve long-lasting impact. In order to support those interested in implementing women’s empowerment programs, this guidebook provides background information on issues that are particularly relevant to women’s political and economic empowerment, as well as specific programmatic approaches. Although there are many different types of programs that can address women’s issues, this guidebook focuses on topics that are most consistent with CIPE’s mission of strengthening democracy through private enterprise and market-oriented reform.

Find out more here

Building Women’s Chambers and Associations in South Asia

By Marc Schleifer, CIPE Senior Program Officer, South Asia

To begin addressing the issue of why some women’s business organizations thrive while others do not, CIPE recently launched a project to build links among women’s chambers and associations in South Asia.

Women in South Asia confront a range of legal, cultural and social barriers to full economic participation. Some in the elite have risen to the top of their countries’ leadership, but for most, indicators for health and welfare, literacy and education, and income and wealth are among the world’s lowest. Certainly, South Asia has seen no shortage of various donor and government economic development programs aimed at women, but these tend to focus either on microcredit or small business development. Less attention has been paid to building the capacity of women’s chambers of commerce and business associations, so that they in turn can benefit women entrepreneurs – both by conducting policy advocacy to improve the business climate for women, as well as providing members with the services needed to thrive in business.

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Indigenous Women and the Fight for Economic Inclusion in Peru

By Molly Brister, CIPE Program Assistant, Global Programs

Last October U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton traveled to Peru. Clinton’s Peru trip barely made the headlines, but her remarks deserve attention and continue to ring true worldwide, especially in Latin America.

On her agenda: discussing bilateral and regional cooperation and delivering a keynote on women’s financial inclusion. In her remarks, she emphasized that economic strength is derived from social inclusion, and “at the heart of social inclusion [is] a commitment to women and girls.” But unfortunately the world’s attention was elsewhere, caught up in controversy over Libya and other regional priorities.

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Melanne Verveer to Head Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security

By Jon Custer, CIPE Social Media Coordinator

Melanne Verveer, the first ever U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, will continue her advocacy for women’s political and economic empowerment in a new role at Georgetown University.

“Political and economic realities are intertwined,” Verveer said in her keynote address at CIPE’s Democracy that Delivers for Women conference in 2011. “Progress in one dimension reinforces progress in the other. These are the two principal elements of empowerment.”

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