The Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment (WEEE) Act is designed to help women improve their lives, care for their families, and contribute to global economic growth. It does so by eliminating harmful social and culture norms so women can improve their access to resources, including financial services and increase their decision-making power.
Currently, more than one billion women are excluded from formal financial services. Many cannot open bank accounts, seek loans or credit, or manage their funds because of antiquated legal and or social beliefs about gender roles. The WEEE Act makes it the policy of the United States to reduce gender disparities in access to resources so that women are able to provide for their families no matter the social and cultural norms or circumstances.
Additionally, one in three women globally experiences sexual, emotional, and or physical violence during her lifetime. Gender-based violence can also prevent women from engaging successfully in economic activities. When women face harassment or violence in the workplace, or when they suffer from injuries or trauma as a result of domestic violence, their economic livelihoods are affected. The WEEE Act makes it U.S. policy to strive to eliminate gender-based violence and mitigate its effects so that women and their children can live free from fear and enjoy equal access to opportunities.
This legislation also ensures that women can access land and own property. Sadly, women own less than 20 percent of the world’s land. This is staggering if you consider that half of the world’s population is women. More than 400 million of them farm and produce the majority of the world’s food supply, yet female farmers lack equal rights to own land in more than 90 countries.
Most of the world’s 1.2 billion people who live in absolute poverty are women and girls. Women lack opportunities for developing confidence and decision-making power – and they are under-represented in senior roles and economic leadership positions in developing and developed countries. The WEEE Act requires the U.S. Government to maintain a rigorous gender analysis in foreign assistance programs so that we have the necessary data to address critical barriers and leave no woman behind. When women lift themselves out of poverty, they pull their families and communities up with them.