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CARE Welcomes House Introduction of the Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment Act of 2018

Photo credit: Josh Estey/CARE
Photo credit: Josh Estey/CARE

WASHINGTON (April 13, 2018) – The global poverty-fighting organization CARE welcomes the introduction of the Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment (WEE) Act of 2018 (H.R. 5480), a bipartisan bill that prioritizes women’s economic empowerment and equips communities with the tools and resources to support women’s leadership and advancement.

This legislation, introduced by Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Ed Royce (R-CA), and Rep. Lois Frankel (D-FL), Co-Chair of the bipartisan Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues, as well as Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Ann Wagner (R-MO) and Robin Kelly (D-IL), improves the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) programs and activities that focus on women’s entrepreneurship and economic empowerment globally. The WEE Act recognizes the critical barriers to women’s economic empowerment. It specifically focuses on expanding women’s access to and control over resources, such as property, and supports the financial inclusion needed for women to grow their businesses, savings and prosperity.  The introduction of this bill signals a step forward in U.S. efforts to make development assistance work effectively to lift women, families, communities and nations out of poverty.

“The impact of women’s economic empowerment is far-reaching and long-lasting,” said David Ray, vice president of policy and advocacy at CARE. “This bill aims to ensure that women are able to access and control the same economic resources, opportunities and assets as men, which would mean a great step towards ending global poverty.”

1.2 billion people live in absolute poverty around the globe, and most of them are women and girls. Equipping women and girls with the resources to claim their equal economic rights also empowers them to make decisions to lift themselves and their communities out of poverty and improve their lives for the better. The WEE Act recognizes that savings-led approaches, like CARE’s Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLA’s), bring economic opportunity within grasp for women worldwide.

“The United States has long supported the economic advancement of women worldwide,” said Ray. “But this bill reprioritizes the empowerment of women so they can access their economic rights and resources at a time when women’s rights are galvanizing people across the globe.”

The WEE Act signals the United States’ commitment to the entrepreneurship and economic empowerment of women, which is essential to achieving growth at all levels of society and eliminating global poverty. CARE applauds Chairman Royce and Rep. Frankel for their leadership on this critical bill and for their support for women’s economic empowerment globally.

Founded in 1945, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE places special focus on working alongside poor girls and women because, equipped with the proper resources, they have the power to lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty. Last year, CARE worked in 94 countries and reached more than 80 million people around the world. To learn more, please visit www.care.org.

Media Contacts
Nicole Ellis, +1-202-560-1791, nicole.ellis@care.org


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