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CGD’s work on gender focuses policies in aid, development finance, trade, migration and peacekeeping that will improve women’s economic empowerment worldwide.
Greater equality drives big gains in health, education, employment, and improved livelihoods—for individuals, their families, and their communities. However, in many parts of the world, women and girls, and other marginalized groups including LGBT people, still face legal, economic, and political constraints that prevent them from participating fully and equally in society. CGD uses evidence to show how governments, donor institutions, and the private sector can help create conditions in low- and middle-income countries that allow all people to thrive.
Global development isn't exactly a campaign issue. But we at CGD hope it's a policy area both presidential transition teams are taking very seriously. The next US president will need to confront and prevent crises where our development and humanitarian assistance is a far more useful (and less expensive) response than guns and bombs. To that end, led by Scott Morris, we at the CGD Rethinking US Development Policy program put together a short memo to the transition teams.
The third annual Girl Summit DC—taking place this week and co-hosted by CGD, IWHC, Girls Not Brides USA, Population Council, the International Center for Research on Women, and CARE—will be an opportunity to push for more research in specific policy areas, including how to address harmful cultural norms and practices facing girls. Traditions that impact girls in the formative years of their lives is the focus of research at CGD by Joyce Banda, former president of Malawi and now a distinguished visiting fellow at the Center. President Banda will be speaking about the need to better understand some of these widespread practices.
At present rates of progress, it will take more than three centuries for the UN to see the same number of women as men in peacekeeping operations, even though evidence suggests that increasing the proportion of women in operations will improve the success rate of peacekeeping missions and reduce levels of sexual misconduct. One method to speed up the march to equality could be financial incentives directed at troop contributing countries. These could significantly increase the proportion of women peacekeepers, potentially for as little as $77 million per year.
Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) recently introduced a bill that tackles an important subject in global security: the under-representation of women in the world’s security forces and, in particular, United Nations peacekeeping operations. That's a great step, but with a bit more money to provide direct incentives and the support of our allies, the United States might be able to bring the percentage of women in UN Peacekeeping Operations up four-fold.
COVID-19 school closures pose significant operational and financial risks to frontline organizations delivering vital education services, including non-governmental organizations, school operators, and other service providers. In this survey, we ask these organizations about the challenges they are facing in light of COVID-19 closures, particularly for girls. The responses shed light on how COVID-19 is affecting education service operations—and what providers are doing in response.
A number of countries worldwide have laws that specifically discriminate against women’s participation in the workforce, including bans on particular occupations, restrictions on opening bank accounts or taking jobs without a male family member’s authority, and restrictions on travel. Such discriminatory laws are associated with considerably lower female labor force participation and with negative consequences for economic growth and sustainable development. They also contradict globally accepted norms and values on gender equality in the workplace.
Women’s equality and empowerment is a driver of economic growth and development around the world, and development organizations routinely include and espouse this goal as part of their missions and activities. But if you peel back the curtain, there are serious questions about whether—behind the scenes—development organizations are living up to these values in the workplace.
The Obama administration has taken some important steps to put women’s economic empowerment at the center of US foreign and development policy, but there’s still plenty of work left to do. Researchers and advocates alike have made the case for why gender equality—and specifically women’s economic empowerment—is critical for achieving economic growth, eradicating extreme poverty, and improving the health, education, and well-being of people worldwide. This blog post turns to concrete ways that the next US administration can promote women’s economic empowerment, thereby maximizing the impact of its development agenda.
This post takes a deeper dive into women’s specific situations, and in particular their socioeconomic levels, as an important factor for consideration when seeking to both improve and measure economic outcomes.