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Women’s Economic Empowerment as a US Development Priority: Still A Lot of Room for Improvement

While the previous US administration sought to elevate some elements of women’s economic empowerment within development policy, a recent report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) suggests there is considerable room for improvement, specifically in USAID’s support to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). The Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment (WEEE) Act, signed into law in early 2019, mandates that half of USAID’s investments in MSMEs target women-owned, managed, or controlled business and the very poor. But the GAO uncovered several issues that undermine USAID’s ability to determine how it has fared relative to this ambition.

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Governments Looking to Increase Women’s Economic Empowerment Might Want to Look in the Mirror

Government leaders worldwide are trumpeting the need for greater equality in the workplace. That’s the correct thing to do on the grounds of both rights and efficiency, but those leaders might want to start by looking within their own organizations. Today we publish a new policy paper that studies the choices governments have made in their own hiring and compensation decisions.

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Off to a Good Start: How the Biden-Harris Administration Can Strengthen DFC’s 2X Initiative

In March, the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) held its first board meeting of the Biden-Harris administration. At that meeting board members voted to approve just one project—a $300 million loan to expand a Brazilian bank’s lending portfolio to small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The loan is notably focused on increasing lending to women borrowers, as well as those in underdeveloped regions of the country, making the new administration’s first board-approved DFC investment a 2X Initiative project—a promising starting point.

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The Way We Access Research Isn’t Working for Development. We Need to Fix It.

Research findings are most impactful when considered a global public good, accessible by anyone, and, for publicly funded research, there is no reason why this should not be the case. The current research publishing system—dominated by a number of large for-profit publishers—is expensive and ineffective at its main goal: disseminating the findings of research to all who need them. While the myriad problems of research publishing in high-income countries are often overcome by simply paying up, this option may not be available to many in low- and middle-income countries.

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From Mexico City to Paris: Generation Equality Needs Evidence-Based Commitments

Women’s History Month came to a close last week with the first virtual convening of the Generation Equality Forum in Mexico City. Originally scheduled for 2020, the Forum commemorates the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, while bringing urgent attention to global leaders falling short of their stated objectives to achieve gender equality. Over the course of the three-day session, Forum participants heard from leaders of six Action Coalitions, each of which presented a blueprint of actions that coalition members will take to achieve their stated goals by 2026. Here we examine these newly announced goals, assess their scope and scale of ambition, and propose some next steps.

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