U.S. House Passes Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment Act
On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment Act (H.R. 5480) by voice vote, following a unanimous vote of support by the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The Act strengthens U.S. development policy to improve women’s economic participation by promoting women-owned businesses and eliminating barriers to women’s participation in the workforce. Representative Royce (R-CA), a co-sponsor of the legislation, praised the move, noting that research shows “investment in women yields results for entire communities.”A companion bill was just introduced in the Senate by U.S. Senators Boozman (R-AR), Cardin (D-MD), Rubio (R-FL) and Shaheen (D-NH).
World Bank Finds Girls’ Secondary School Under-enrollment Costs Trillions
Barriers that keep girls from completing 12 years of education cost countries between $15 trillion to $30 trillion dollars, according to a new World Bank analysis. Globally, 89 percent of girls complete primary education, but only 33 percent of girls in low-income countries complete lower secondary education. When girls drop out of school prematurely, they are much more likely to marry as children and reproduce before the age of 18, thereby jeopardizing their health. In contrast, girls who complete secondary school are more likely to participate in the labor force as adults and become decision makers at home and in their communities. Still, many legal, structural, and societal barriers to girls' education persist worldwide, and displaced girls in humanitarian crises are particularly vulnerable to losing access to education.
India Continues to Struggle with Combatting Sexual Violence
Sexual violence is dominating Indian headlines again following the discovery of another horrific assault against an 11-year old girl in Chennai. "The Chennai Horror," as Indian news outlets have dubbed the attack, follows a string of high-profile sexual assaults that galvanized public protests. In response, Modi convened an emergency cabinet meeting to approve an executive order that introduced the death penalty for child rapists and extend maximum sentences for perpetrators. Despite these new laws, the country's judicial system is notoriously backlogged—and national laws aren't always effective in rural villages, where local councils often determine punishments. The latest assault comes after a Thomson Reuters study recently declared India as the "most dangerous place in the world for women to live."