Can the world’s most pressing problems be solved without the full participation of half its population? The answer from the United States is a resounding “No!”, as Secretary of State Antony Blinken noted at the launch of the first-ever U.S. Strategy on Global Women’s Economic Security:
“We need women’s full economic participation to actually lead an inclusive recovery from the COVID pandemic…We need their leadership in resolving conflict. We need their ideas and their innovation to tackle the climate crisis.”
Secretary Blinken said the new U.S. strategy has at its heart a simple vision: creating a world in which women and girls everywhere can contribute to and benefit from economic growth and prosperity. “That’s a world in which we will all be better off. Closing the gender gap in the workforce by 2025 … would add up to $28 trillion to the global economy,” he said.
However, barriers to women’s full economic participation — social, legal and financial -- stand in the way. Secretary Blinken outlined four lines of effort the United States will undertake:
“First we will advance women’s economic competitiveness so that women can fully participate and lead in all sectors, in all industries — including as CEO’s and board members.”
The second line of effort will be to strengthen foundational support — childcare, eldercare — that allows women to participate fully in the economy. The third line will be to promote women’s entrepreneurship and financial and digital inclusion. And finally, the United States will work to help dismantle systemic barriers to women’s equitable participation in the economy.
The United States will encourage nations to repeal discriminatory laws and advocate for reforms that promote gender equality. “Across each of these lines of effort, we will work in tandem with partners around the world,” he said.
“Promoting women’s economic security is the right thing to do, but it’s also the smart and necessary thing to do,” declared Secretary Blinken. “When everyone can contribute to their full potential, our economies are more prosperous, our societies are more full of opportunity, our nations are more peaceful and everyone is better off.”