Public and Private Investments in Women and Girls Through the Equal Futures Partnership

Posted by Wenchi Yu
May 3, 2013
Equal Futures Partnership Meeting at World Bank in April 2013

On April 18, 2013, President of the World Bank Group Jim Yong Kim co-hosted the second Equal Futures Partnership meeting, along with the U.S. Secretary of Treasury Jacob Lew, Senior Advisor to President Obama Valerie Jarrett, and National Economic Advisor to President Obama Gene Sperling on the margins of the World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington, D.C. The 13 founding members issued a report on progress made thus far, while six new country members joined the partnership with new commitments, and three more signaled intent to join at the next convening. Some of the new country commitments centered on increasing women's political participation in legislatures, removing legislative and policy barriers to women's participation in the formal economy, and strengthening law enforcement to address gender-based violence.

In response to President Obama's challenge to the world to break down barriers to women's political and economic participation, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton launched the Equal Futures Partnership on behalf of the United States in September 2012 along with 12 other founding members. Each founding member made national commitments to policy, legal, and regulatory reforms to promote two mutually reinforcing goals: expanded economic opportunity for women and increased political and civic participation by women at local, state, and national levels. Multilateral stakeholders, including UN Women and the World Bank, along with leading businesses and non-profit institutions also pledged support for the partnership.

As government officials noted, the private sector is a critical part of achieving a truly equal future for all. HTC's Founder and Chairwoman Cher Wang used her personal story to talk about the importance of having more women and girls involved in technology and to expand the talent pool. She urged women to use technology and online communication to pursue education and gender equality. She also announced the donation of 100,000 HTC tablets to women in the Asia-Pacific region. Discovery International Network's President and CEO Mark Hollinger spoke passionately about using innovative technology to educate children, especially in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). In addition, Hyatt Hotels announced their support for the U.S.-China Women-LEAD initiative which promotes exchanges among young women from China and the United States.

The White House Council on Women and Girls hosted a roundtable with private sector partners to discuss future opportunities for public-private partnerships, as well as the U.S. plan to establish a regular dialogue with the private sector to strategically align Equal Futures country commitments and private sector resources and expertise.

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