Earlier this week, I spoke on a panel at the Wilson Center on women in politics. We all agreed on the importance of women’s networks as an empowerment tool. Networks can provide women with several kinds of support. First, a network of similar women allows members to share strategies as they face similar situations. An example of this could be an association of women engineers. Second, a network of diverse women can give women the opportunity to meet women that are unlike them in some ways but could be helpful to them financially or politically precisely because of their differences. An example of this kind of network could be a parliamentary women’s caucus. A third kind of network for women could provide the members access to resources they might need but find hard to acquire. This network might include mentoring or a “pitchfest” event where younger entrepreneurs share their business ideas with potential funders. Another is the annual conference put on by EMILY’s List that brings together candidates with journalists and potential donors. Supporting a variety of networks is often a part of a gender equality development program.
We know that women and girls are a powerful force for change. And when we put women and girls at the center of development, we can break the cycle of poverty. We can help them delay their marriages, choose the timing and spacing of their pregnancies, access needed services and information, complete their education, and gain the knowledge and skills they need to participate in the economy and in their country’s development.
Yet, all too often gender inequality gets pushed aside because of competing priorities or a lack of resources. People say that gender equality isn’t their area or that gender equality is a “women’s issue.”
- Diversity and Inclusion
- Economic Empowerment
- Empowering Girls
- Foreign Policy
- Gender Equality
- Open Government
- Sexual and Gender-Based Violence
- Sustainable Development Goals