The Center for International Private Enterprise is working with women around the world to share best practices for women’s business advocacy and economic empowerment.
A WBA is both an advocacy process and a product. The process is cyclical: convene businesswomen and their allies, build consensus on key issues and their respective priorities, develop policy prescriptions, advocate to policymakers, monitor the policymaking process and evaluate the effectiveness of advocacy, reconvene to begin the process again with an updated set of issues.
The WBA product is a document containing research and data on barriers to women’s participation in commerce and a set of policy recommendations vetted and endorsed by a diverse group of private sector stakeholders whose number and breadth of representation carries serious weight for governing leaders.
CIPE has helped launch WBAs in Bangladesh, Nigeria, Pakistan, Morocco, in addition to PNG. In PNG, leaders identified four key issue areas tied to women’s economic and political empowerment to focus the agenda around: women’s political participation; access to finance; transition from the information to formal economy; and access to services. The agenda calls for democratic engagement and participation led by women in the private sector. “The WBA lists several recommendations for policy reviews led by external committees rather than government departments,” CIPE’s Erinn Benedict said during the panel discussion.
CIPE launched the initiative with initial investment from the U.S. Department of State Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. The goal was to encourage, support, and reward women’s entrepreneurship in PNG through policy reform. “Progress is happening, albeit slowly,” CIPE’s PNG Country Director Eli Webb noted during the panel. Through the WBA, “CIPE is finding the gaps and addressing economic issues” that have held women back.
During the panel discussion, representatives from PNG discussed ways to encourage women to engage in advocacy and expand their influence over policy debates. Please watch the entire event to learn more about the WBA in Papua New Guinea.