BREAKING NEWS Car of missing North Iowa man contained human remains Full Story

Women could boost the global economy, but outdated laws are holding them back

In the midst of the longest US government shutdown in history, members of Congress have found a rare area of...

Posted: Jan 15, 2019 9:49 PM
Updated: Jan 15, 2019 9:49 PM

In the midst of the longest US government shutdown in history, members of Congress have found a rare area of bipartisan cooperation: women's economic empowerment.

Last week, President Trump signed into law the Women's Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment (WEEE) Act, a law that strengthens US efforts to promote opportunity for female entrepreneurs worldwide. At a time when bipartisanship is elusive, elected officials on both sides of the aisle agree on one thing: Women's economic participation is a worthwhile investment.

Business, economy and trade

Company activities and management

Company structure and ownership

Continents and regions

Demographic groups

Economy and economic indicators

Entrepreneurship

Females (demographic group)

Gender equality

Labor and employment

North America

Population and demographics

Sex and gender issues

Society

The Americas

United States

Women workers and professionals

Workers and professionals

Economic conditions

Economic growth

Globalization

Trade and development

Why the common ground? Even in an era of political polarization, it's hard to ignore dollar signs: Women's labor force participation is an economic imperative. According to the McKinsey Global Institute, closing the gender gap in the workforce could add $28 trillion to the global GDP — nearly the size of the US and Chinese economies combined. Our recent analysis at the Council on Foreign Relations confirms that advanced and developing countries alike stand to benefit if women participate in the labor force at the same rate as men, work the same number of hours as men and are employed at the same levels as men: By 2025, the US economy would grow by 19%, China's by 20%, Mexico's by 43%, and India's by a staggering 60%.

The realized financial benefits of women's economic participation spurred not only enactment of the bipartisan WEEE Act here in the United States, but also rising investment in female entrepreneurship globally. In 2017, the World Bank launched the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi), the largest fund ever raised to support women's access to capital, with more than $350 million mobilized to date. Last year, G-7 nations made a commitment to raise $3 billion to invest in female entrepreneurs and business leaders. The private sector has also recognized how women's economic participation can improve their bottom line, with companies from Walmart to Coca-Cola to Intel deploying strategies to source from women-owned businesses.

But to realize a robust return on these investments, female entrepreneurs need more than access to capital. After all, businesswomen will only get so far in an economy in which employers and lenders are free to harass and discriminate, and under family laws that constrain women's freedom of movement.

Today, most countries still have discriminatory laws and policies on the books that make it harder for women to work. According to the new Women's Workplace Equality Index from the Council on Foreign Relations, legal inequality persists for women worldwide: Over 100 countries restrict the kinds of jobs women can have, 75 countries limit women's property rights, and 18 countries require women to have their husband's permission to work outside the home. Women face restrictions in getting passports and national ID cards, making it more difficult for them to open a bank account, obtain employment and travel freely. And a year after the #MeToo movement drew global attention to the pervasiveness of sexual misconduct and assault, 59 countries still lack any legal protection against sexual harassment in the workplace whatsoever.

As officials at USAID, the State Department and other US agencies implement the WEEE Act, they should recognize that unlocking growth from women's economic empowerment requires more than seed funding. Doing so demands attention to the legal, structural and cultural barriers that continue to constrain not only individual women, but entire economies. Leveling the legal playing field for women in the workplace is not only the right thing to do — it is also the smart thing to do: When women are finally able to fulfill their economic potential, all of us stand to gain.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 135372

Reported Deaths: 2406
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin34290991
Ramsey14168361
Dakota9897138
Anoka8872150
Washington598672
Stearns588344
Scott342934
Olmsted327730
St. Louis302669
Wright254115
Clay232843
Nobles227616
Blue Earth20457
Carver18207
Sherburne171122
Kandiyohi17055
Rice164810
Mower152917
Winona126019
Chisago10402
Crow Wing103522
Lyon9766
Benton9509
Waseca9299
Beltrami9017
Otter Tail8737
Todd8266
Steele7613
Morrison7429
Nicollet73917
Itasca73617
Douglas7083
Freeborn6844
Polk6734
Le Sueur6315
Martin61317
McLeod6024
Goodhue59711
Watonwan5794
Becker5754
Isanti5615
Pine5490
Carlton4441
Chippewa4443
Mille Lacs41315
Hubbard3962
Dodge3940
Wabasha3840
Cass3775
Pipestone35117
Rock3404
Meeker3313
Brown3243
Unassigned29253
Yellow Medicine2856
Murray2833
Cottonwood2820
Redwood28111
Roseau2650
Fillmore2640
Renville25611
Sibley2543
Wadena2393
Faribault2350
Jackson2151
Kanabec21510
Swift2071
Houston2061
Pennington1951
Lincoln1840
Stevens1841
Aitkin1792
Koochiching1704
Pope1610
Big Stone1410
Lac qui Parle1403
Wilkin1374
Marshall1261
Lake1230
Norman1170
Mahnomen1162
Clearwater1140
Grant994
Red Lake782
Traverse570
Lake of the Woods441
Kittson420
Cook170

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 116514

Reported Deaths: 1643
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk19024288
Woodbury724797
Johnson586230
Black Hawk562698
Linn5591132
Dubuque521157
Scott456639
Story401018
Dallas346344
Pottawattamie324744
Sioux244716
Buena Vista226112
Marshall202036
Webster184415
Plymouth166728
Wapello153062
Clinton149226
Muscatine147758
Des Moines139610
Cerro Gordo137726
Crawford136114
Warren12617
Carroll115612
Jasper111234
Henry10675
Marion101810
Lee95610
Tama94837
Delaware78013
Dickinson7417
Wright7271
Boone7239
Mahaska69724
Bremer6779
Washington66211
Harrison65815
Jackson6333
Benton5902
Lyon5537
Clay5354
Louisa52315
Winnebago49719
Hardin4777
Winneshiek4779
Hamilton4754
Cedar4746
Kossuth4690
Poweshiek45911
Buchanan4544
Jones4474
Floyd43711
Emmet43019
Clayton4233
Iowa4109
Page4060
Mills4053
Cherokee4032
Sac3994
Guthrie39515
Cass3903
Butler3832
Fayette3814
Franklin38118
Shelby3732
Allamakee3719
Madison3623
Chickasaw3611
Clarke3523
Humboldt3253
Hancock3204
Palo Alto3142
Grundy3115
Calhoun3094
Osceola2851
Mitchell2811
Howard2709
Monroe25911
Monona2451
Taylor2432
Jefferson2391
Union2314
Appanoose2273
Pocahontas2262
Fremont2061
Lucas2056
Ida1932
Greene1870
Van Buren1802
Davis1784
Montgomery1787
Adair1701
Keokuk1611
Decatur1500
Audubon1481
Worth1450
Wayne1213
Ringgold882
Adams810
Unassigned110
Rochester
Clear
29° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 15°
Mason City
Clear
31° wxIcon
Hi: 34° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 19°
Albert Lea
Clear
30° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 20°
Austin
Clear
30° wxIcon
Hi: 32° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 21°
Charles City
Clear
28° wxIcon
Hi: 36° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 20°
Tracking plenty of sunshine through the week!
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Community Events