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Treasury Notes

 Equal Futures Partnership Empowering Women Worldwide

By: Anthony Reyes


“Limiting the potential of women will limit a country’s economic growth.”

-Secretary Jacob J. Lew

This was the essential message Secretary Lew imparted during his remarks at last week’s meeting of the Equal Futures Partnership at the World Bank. As part of the annual spring meetings, Secretary Lew joined World Bank President Jim Kim, White House Senior Advisor and Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls Valerie Jarrett, and Chief of Staff to the First Lady and Executive Director of the Council on Women and Girls Tina Tchen in opening a roundtable discussion with partner countries on the progress and goals being made in fostering women’s economic and political participation in the United States and around the world. 

The White House launched the Equal Futures Partnership initiative last year, with the U.S. being joined by twelve other founding members (Australia, Bangladesh, Benin, Denmark, Finland, Indonesia, Jordan, the Netherlands, Peru, Senegal and Tunisia, along with the EU) each of whom made national commitments to policy, legal, and regulatory reforms that would promote two mutually reinforcing goals: expanded economic opportunity for women; and, increased political and civic participation by women at local, state and national levels.

During last week’s meeting at the World Bank, Secretary Lew spoke about the direct role women have in strengthening any country’s economy:

For countries to raise productivity, generate demand, and increase their GDPs, women's full economic involvement is essential. No country can afford to leave half of its creative minds and productive citizens out of the economic mainstream. Women can provide the productivity gains and demand growth that are a critical driver of GDP growth. It is simply smart economics to promote women's full economic and political participation.

Secretary Lew recognized that gender inequality in the U.S. is still a serious problem but he noted how the progress made in the last 40 years has rippled through the economy. He mentioned how "since 1970, women have gone from holding 37 percent of all jobs in the U.S. to 48 percent. Without this modest increase, some estimate our economy would be 25 percent smaller today."


To read Secretary Lew’s full remarks at the Equal Futures Partnership meeting click here. 

Also read White House’s Fact Sheet on the progress being made by the U.S. and partner countries in implementing Equal Futures commitments.

Anthony Reyes is the New Media Specialist at the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Posted in:  Equal Futures Partnership
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