Posts tagged ‘democracy’

#DTDW: Power Lunch

I’m such a conference geek – I’m glowing with delight over the amazing, enlightening lunch I just had with Ambassador Steve Steiner, conference panelist Kathleen Kuehnast of USIP, USAID human trafficking expert Katherine Blakeslee, and development maven Patty Marcus, just back from Iraq.

June 21, 2011 at 1:40 pm Leave a comment

#DTDW: “We need to think beyond microenterprise”

More from the Democracy that Delivers for Women Conference:

This morning’s panel featured three women with expertise in women’s entrepreneurship efforts, and all of them echoed the same sentiment: For women to move forward, the focus must move from microenterprise to mainstream small and medium businesses – and beyond. 

Selima Ahmad, President and Founder of the Bangladesh Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry, offered a provocative question: “We need to give deep thought to micro entrepreneurs – are they part of the mainstream economy?”  She added, “We need to think beyond microenterprise.”

Mary Schnack of Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) agreed: “Women don’t need to be sitting on a dirt floor to need help growing their businesses.”  Women who are already running businesses need additional skills to scale up, she noted.

Gayle Lemmon, author of The Dressmaker of Khair Khanna, identified access to markets and financing as the biggest obstacle to growing women’s businesses.  She noted that in countries where women cannot legally own property, they cannot get financing because they cannot offer collateral.

June 20, 2011 at 5:00 pm Leave a comment

Under Sec. Otero on Human Rights in the Obama Administration

In a recent speech at American University, Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs Maria Otero emphasized the importance of gender equality in the Obama Administration’s human rights policy:

“Our support of civil society in its pursuit of human rights also means elevating our commitment to marginalized and disenfranchised groups, including women, persons with disabilities, ethnic minorities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals.

“For example, despite bearing the brunt of society’s political and economic challenges, women across the Americas’ continue to drive democratic change and social equality. I have met with women leaders in Brazil who are fighting the scourge of human trafficking. Women in Honduras are raising their voices in the name of freedom of speech, and protecting the place of human rights defenders in society. In Colombia, women are defending the rights of the 3 million internally displaced people. And in Cuba, the Damas de Blanco were recently honored for its work fighting for fundamental freedoms. Yet, despite these heroic examples, women remain marginalized by outdated legislation and lackluster law enforcement. Even as we gather here today, women in the Middle East are struggling to make their voices heard in nascent democratic transitions. As countries seek to establish more stable, respected governments, the role of women will be tantamount to their success.”

Read the full speech: http://www.state.gov/g/161910.htm

May 6, 2011 at 12:58 pm Leave a comment

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