Congress passes bipartisan bill to empower women in developing countries

WASHINGTON — The ONE Campaign applauded the House and Senate’s passage of the Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment Act of 2018. The bill was introduced earlier this summer by Senators John Boozman (R-AR), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). A companion bill was introduced by Representatives Ed Royce (R-CA) and Lois Frankel (D-FL). The bill now heads to President Trump’s desk where he is expected to sign it into law.

Tom Hart, North America executive director at The ONE Campaign:

“The Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment Act will help level the playing field for the over one billion women and girls who don’t have access to bank accounts, and many more who lack secure rights to the land they farm, loans to grow their businesses, and quality skills training and employment opportunities. Government resources have to promote gender equality in order to work most effectively in eradicating poverty and ensuring inclusive growth. This bill ensures USAID will apply a gender lens to its projects and help give women-owned small- and medium-sized enterprises access to the tools they need to expand their businesses. Investments in women’s economic outcomes will not only lead to greater economic opportunities and higher incomes in developing countries, they’ll also spur gains in other areas of development like health, education, stability and security.

“The Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment Act earned the support of Republicans and Democrats in Congress because it is a smart approach to closing gender gaps that fuel extreme poverty and empowering women as key economic actors. The passage of this bill would not have been possible without the leadership and support of Senators John Boozman, Ben Cardin, Marco Rubio, and Jeanne Shaheen, as well as Representatives Ed Royce and Lois Frankel. We are also thankful for the Trump Administration’s support of this bill.

“In just one year, we’ve seen bipartisan leaders in Congress pass the BUILD Act, legislation to re-authorize PEPFAR and the Global Food Security Act, and now the Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment Act. These victories, which took place in such an incredibly difficult legislative climate, are a testament to both the bipartisan commitment in Congress for ending extreme global poverty and the important work that remains to achieve it.

“As we celebrate this bipartisan victory, The ONE Campaign and its over 3 million members in the United States look forward to continuing the fight for all women and girls to have the opportunities they need and deserve to thrive.”

For more information, or to speak with an expert about the legislation, contact Sean Simons at [email protected].