Women

USAID’s Shari Berenbach and Department of State’s Shelly Porges spoke on working with women, while at a CIPE 2011 conference titled Democracy that Delivers for Women.

Women comprise half of the world’s population, perform 66 percent of the world’s work, produce 50 percent of the food, and constitute between 60 and 80 percent of the manufacturing workforce in developing countries. In addition, women business owners make up the majority of entrepreneurs in the informal sector and a large share of the micro-enterprise sector. Yet, despite their extraordinary contributions to socio-economic development, women continue to be marginalized in many countries around the world. The Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) views women’s empowerment through the prism of building linkages between educational, political, civic, and economic empowerment, where civil society organizations become a leading force to remove barriers and empower women to shape the future of their own countries.

CIPE’s approach to women’s empowerment is guided by a simple principle: women’s empowerment should not be driven by simply bestowing or extending power to women. To be truly empowered, women must develop their power base, advocate for reform, and exert their own leadership to change their countries’ political, cultural, and economical environment.

Women's Empowerment Programs at CIPE

Through its programs and international partnerships, CIPE works with women in these areas:

  • Build the capacity of women’s business associations to advocate for reforms.
  • Strengthen institutions that support the participation of women in the economy such as property rights and rule of law.
  • Educate women entrepreneurs on business management and representation.
  • Reduce barriers to entry such as gender-biased laws and legal discrimination.

Read more about CIPE's women's empowerment programs.

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Article at a glance

  • Through associations, businesswomen can come together to address the social and economic challenges faced by female entrepreneurs.
  • Developing a successful National Businesswomen’s Agenda requires that associations conduct thorough research to identify social, economic, and cultural hindrances faced by women in the private sector. Sound research will boster associations’ advocacy.
  • Dialogue about women’s empowerment must engage male stakeholders. Involving men in conversations about women’s participation in the economy helps policymakers of both genders understand the importance of the legislative solutions being proposed, while also encouraging the challenge of social norms.

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