Country: United States of America
Delegate Name: Rachel Verbrugge
All across the globe women’s economic opportunities have been suppressed and unequal to the opportunities of men. In many developing countries women are confined to informal jobs such as homemakers and caregivers, and this results in the significant global wage gap of 23% between men and women and restriction of economic opportunities. The UN Women website states that women are “disproportionately affected by poverty, discrimination and exploitation” and “Gender discrimination means women often end up in insecure, low-wage jobs, and constitute a small minority of those in senior positions”. Commitments made such as the Beijing Platform for Action, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and a series of International Labour Organization conventions on gender equality aim to increase gender equality. Restrictive gender roles in many countries result in women not having access to higher education, and those that do enter the workforce are likely subject to violence and harassment. Increasing the employment of women around the world would result in an increase in GDP in many countries, reduce the wage gap, and provide equal financial opportunities for women.
The United States has set a prime example for the rest of the world on the subject of improving the economic empowerment of women. The Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) is a program initiated by the United States to provide the funding needed to support economic empowerment of women in developing economies. This is a partnership between 14 governments, and they have allocated $355 million so far for over 60 countries to scale up access to financial products and services, build capacity, expand networks, offer mentors, and provide opportunities to link with domestic and global markets. In addition, another global program called Women and Girls Empowered (WAGE) has enacted collaborative and inclusive programs to reduce gender-based violence in the workplace in Central Asia, El Salvador, Honduras, Moldova, and Timor Leste. The goals of this program are to “(1) Strengthen the capacity of civil society organizations to support women’s economic empowerment; (2) Provide women with the resources they need to succeed as equal and active participants in the global economy; (3) Engage in collaborative research and learning to build a body of evidence on relevant promising practices”.
The United States suggests that other developed countries join We-Fi partnership in order to provide the funding and educational programs with the goal of increasing economic empowerment among women. Additionally, evidence has shown that the lack of participation of women in the workforce in several developing countries is negatively impacting the economy. Countries with a more equal representation of genders have increased economic growth and a reduction in poverty. The United States Calls on other developed countries to establish programs like WAGE to encourage educational opportunities for women so they can receive a higher education as well as programs to protect women against violence and harassment in the workplace so that lack of safety is not preventing them from these opportunities.