Nineteen different countries, nineteen different stories, nineteen women all focused on improving the enabling environment for women in their economies —CIPE was honored to welcome the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) Delegation from the U.S. Department of State for an action-planning workshop at CIPE’s headquarters on September 13th.
The IVLP is the U.S. Department of State’s chief professional exchange program. In recognizing the disproportionate barriers that women face in the economic sector, the State Department sponsored this IVLP to align with pillar-3 of the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative (W-GDP), which focuses on women enabled in the economy by removing restrictive legal, regulatory, and cultural barriers.
CIPE engaged the W-GDP IVLP delegation to outline simple, productive, goals to improve the environment for women in their home countries. Co-facilitators Barbara Langley, Director of the Center for Women’s Economic Empowerment (CWEE) at CIPE, and Wade Channell, Senior Economic Growth Advisor for Gender at USAID, worked with participants on issue identification, goal setting, and message development, creating an “elevator speech” to use with various stakeholders both in the U.S. during their trip, and back home. CIPE met the delegation again in New York City, after their meetings were over, to fine-tune their strategies and map their action plans. Each participant left with a commitment card, identifying an achievable goal to be fulfilled within three months, and traded that information with each other to encourage comradery and follow-up.
Female entrepreneurs worldwide face barriers to business, including laws, policies, or social norms that restrict their ability to own property, secure loans, and take goods to market. CIPE believes that equal participation by women in the economy strengthens both free markets and democracy. For more than 25 years, CIPE has embodied the spirit of W-GDP, as displayed through innovative creation and implementation of women enabled as entrepreneurs through its Women’s Business Resource Centers (WBRCs) and collective action efforts (women enabled in the economy) through its Women’s National Business Agendas (WNBAs).
Erika Lewis is currently interning for the Center for Women’s Economic Empowerment at CIPE. Erika is studying Political Science at McDaniel College.