DEVELOPMENT & ADVANCEMENT
Economic Development & Advancement
The United States recognizes the critical role of women's economic empowerment in achieving prosperity and peace, as the 2017 National Security Strategy makes clear:
“Societies that empower women to participate fully in civic and economic life are more prosperous and peaceful.” Women make up half the human population — and can act as key drivers of global growth and national security.
At Women of Toledo, we believe that investing in gender equality and women’s empowerment can help eradicate extreme poverty, build vibrant economies, and unlock human potential on a transformational scale.
We aim to support these efforts, in addition to advocating for diversity and inclusivity in all areas of the marketplace, workplace, and community space in the Toledo region.
According to the Gender Equality Task Force at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, there is also evidence of strong positive links between women’s economic empowerment and foundational health outcomes for women and their families, including beneficial effects on nutrition, family planning, maternal mortality, and child mortality. While more research is needed, a growing body of evidence indicates that increasing the share of household income controlled by women may produce other benefits as well, including greater investment in children’s education, and reductions in gender-based violence.
An Investment in Women
Investing in women’s economic empowerment sets a direct path towards gender equality, poverty eradication, and inclusive economic growth.
But women remain disproportionately affected by poverty, discrimination, and exploitation. Gender discrimination means women often end up in insecure, low-wage jobs, and constitute a small minority of those in senior positions. It curtails access to economic assets such as properties and loans. It limits participation in shaping economic, political, and social policies. And because women also perform the bulk of household work, they often have little time left to pursue economic opportunities.
To determine the right approach for the organization and assess our community needs, our impact team conducted a listening session with our female community and analyzed the evidence base theme that arose during the session. The team discovered the five keywords that interplay - empowerment, ownership ability, access to resources, and barriers or bias to participate equally in the workplace, marketplace, and community. These findings also provided us with an opportunity to explore various types of methodology as tools to engage our community to participate in our WEE series program.
Forum dialogue, panel discussion, speaking engagement, roundtable activity, intensive training, and workshop emphasizing opportunities and ways to increase women’s economic involvement, strengthen their economic leadership, and advance the rights of women in our community.
The three main objectives to consider while our team develops a plan for the program’s methodology and curriculum:
Workforce and Workplace: Provide development and skills training for women and youth
Women Professional and Entrepreneurs: Reassessing the marketplace and market forces, which is also an important source of innovation and job creation. However, they often do not have equal access to the capital and business networks they need to sustain, expand their businesses, and advance in leadership.
Advocacy: Enabling an inclusive environment with discussion involves changes to laws, policies, practices, and norms that have historically limited women’s potential.
We plan to offer an educational series throughout the year with focus topics intended to improve and elevate women's economic empowerment in our region based on all the information gathered in this concept paper. Working with a variety of partners and businesses, our programs will promote women’s ability to secure their sense of belonging in the workplace or marketplace, accumulate assets, #BreakTheGlass and influence institutions, and public policies, with a focused approach on progress, growth, and development. A few of the critical areas of focus involve advocacy efforts that measure women’s participation as decision-makers and ways to enhance the gender pay gap through the salary negotiations process.