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Women's Economic Empowerment: Stimulating Renewed Global Momentum and Driving Long-Lasting Change

International Women and Girls Strategy: Rights, Freedom, Potential

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Programme Director
Alison Hilliard

Project Manager
Rachel Jewkes

In the context of concerted efforts to roll back on women’s and girls’ rights and the disproportionate impact of climate, crises and conflict, there is a need for a concerted, collective effort on, for and with women and girls.

The UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has committed to using the full range of levers at its disposal to unite partners in standing up to those who want to hold back women and girls, and champion women and girls as agents for change through local leadership, including grassroots women’s rights organisations.

A new FCDO International Women and Girls Strategy launched on International Women’s Day on March 8 2023, sets out a set of principles and goals, alongside the thematic priorities of the 3 Es – Educating girls, Empowering women and girls, and championing their health and rights, and Ending gender-based violence. It also marks the start of a new global campaign – Rights, Freedom, Potential – to drive conversation and action on women’s and girls’ rights.

This will be supported by a Wilton Park series of conferences over the course of the next year.

The series forms an important part of the FCDO’s commitment to partnership-building, to countering the roll back on rights, and to supporting women’s rights organisations while delivering progress on the empowerment and rights of women and girls around the world in the context of growing global threats and shocks.

This first conference focuses on stimulating renewed global momentum to drive long lasting improvement to women’s economic empowerment. It will take stock of recent geopolitical changes, including the COVID-19 crises, to establish a coordinated and effective effort to enhance women’s economic empowerment.

The norms underpinning gendered outcomes can be ‘sticky’ or resistant to change, particularly when reinforced through social institutions. Progress is often nonlinear, and subject to backlash and reversals. In 2022 the World Economic Forum found the global ‘Economic Participation and Opportunity’ gender gap to be 39.7% – which, at the current rate of progress, will take 151 years to close – representing multiple generations to parity. Concerted, coordinated international effort is needed therefore to allow women to fulfil their right to decent work.

The conference will explore what works to support women at different life stages and revisit the Seven Proven and Promising Drivers to Expand Women’s Economic Opportunities identified by the 2016 UN High Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment.

Project Manager: Rachel Jewkes
  • Telephone: +44 (0)1903 817 761
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