GDP: Overcoming Barriers to Women’s Economic Participation

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In support of the President’s National Security Memorandum establishing the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) is pleased to offer a new International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) entitled “W-GDP: Overcoming Barriers to Women’s Economic Participation.”

With special emphasis on Pillar 3 of the W-GDP Initiative, which seeks to address the overall enabling environment for women’s economic empowerment, this program will bring participants from around the world to the United States to examine best practices for reducing restrictive legal, regulatory, and cultural barriers to women’s full and free participation in the economy.

The W-GDP IVLP project will include visits to cities across the United States, offering meetings with federal, state and local governments, private companies, business incubators, and financial institutions to observe the social, economic, and political factors that influence and encourage women’s full participation in the global economy.

Participants will focus on ways to enhance protections in policies, laws, regulations and practices (public and private) that can create an enabling environment for women and help promote job creation, access to capital, marketing, education, and innovative business models for women in the workforce. The project will accomplish the following objectives:

  • Explore the environment of policies, laws and social norms that affect women’s economic participation and access to economic opportunities as individuals, workers, consumers, innovators, entrepreneurs, and investors around the world;
  • Illustrate regulatory and legal frameworks at the federal, state and local levels that promote economic development, strategies for job creation and access to capital;
  • Observe business models that promote equal access to opportunity and innovations such as micro-lending, mentorship, and childcare;
  • Examine the role of financial institutions in supporting women-led enterprises and ways to leverage government resources to support women’s economic development; and
  • Establish participant action plans that 1) address challenges in participants’ home countries and 2) will be implemented by participants upon returning home.