Entrepreneurship and Economic EmpowermentAct


Futures Without Violence applauds the introduction of the Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment (WEE) Act of 2018 (H.R. 5480) by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) and Rep. Lois Frankel (D-FL), Co-Chair of the bipartisan Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues. The bipartisan legislation seeks to address gender-related barriers to economic growth and supports women-led enterprises.

Across the globe, women make up the majority of the world’s poor due in part to gender-specific constraints to economic empowerment, such lack of access to financial services and discriminatory legal and regulatory systems. More than one billion women are left out of the formal financial system and women-owned small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) face a nearly $300 billion credit gap. Addressing these disparities can produce ripple effects in economic growth in emerging markets. This bill:

  • Makes it U.S. policy to reduce gender disparities related to economic participation and opportunity, strive to eliminate gender-based violence, support women’s property rights and improve the ability of women and girls to actively shape their futures;
  • Requires that gender-specific considerations and efforts to empower women be integrated throughout all United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) programs;
  • Expands support for small and medium-sized enterprises that are owned, managed and controlled by women; and
  • Modernizes USAID’s development assistance toolkit to include such items as financial literacy, technology and other actions that improve property and inheritance rights.

This bill recognizes the obstacles to women’s economic empowerment and utilizes development assistance to remove those obstacles.  The text of the bill can be found here.