Education, Economic Development, and the Role of Women Entrepreneurs

Project Expert

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

Adjunct Senior Fellow for Women and Foreign Policy

About the Project

The United States has made economic development a central tenet of its national security policy, alongside defense and diplomacy. Beyond encouraging investment, creating economic growth requires development from the ground up, including building stronger education systems and entrepreneurial environs, especially for women. Such steps can strengthen growth engines, diversify economies, improve communal well-being, stabilize societies, and accelerate progress toward international development goals. Yet there is often a disconnect between the educational and economic policy spheres. My research seeks to bridge that gap and to understand both what the education systems in the developing world offer job creators and what job creators need from their education systems. Additionally, I study the daunting challenges faced by women entrepreneurs in growing their businesses; female entrepreneurs face not only the same limited skills, constrained access to markets, and shortage of avenues for accessing finance that constrain male entrepreneurs, but also additional barriers exacerbated by gender-specific issues. Such a lack of support for women entrepreneurs widens the gender gap, slows development, and misses an opportunity to stabilize communities.