THE PROMISE OF EQUAL FUTURES
In response to President Obama’s challenge to other heads of state to break down barriers to women’s political and economic participation, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Valerie Jarrett launched the Equal Futures Partnership on behalf of the United States in September 2012.
The Equal Futures Partnership is an innovative U.S.-led multilateral initiative designed to encourage member countries to empower women economically and politically. Equal Futures partner countries commit to taking actions including legal, regulatory, and policy reforms to ensure women fully participate in public life at the local, regional, and national levels, and that they lead and benefit from inclusive economic growth.
Equal Futures partners include Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Benin, Croatia, Denmark, EU, Finland, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Latvia, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Thailand, Timor Leste, Tunisia, and the USA. Multilateral stakeholders including UN Women and the World Bank and leading businesses and non-profit institutions also support the Partnership.
Commitments to Action
Each country participating in the Equal Futures Partnership works closely with civil society and other stakeholders to identify areas for action. They then set achievable goals as commitments within the Partnership. Many establish coordinating bodies to develop and oversee the implementation of Equal Futures commitments. Moving forward, Equal Futures countries will report on progress within the Partnership and exchange best practices and lessons learned through technical working groups.
This year, Italy, Japan, and Mexico have joined the Partnership, and Switzerland has delivered a letter of intent to join. Highlights from new member commitments include: Japan will work to dramatically raise the percentage of female workers’ participation in the labor market by providing an incentive to private companies to empower women and help employees maintain balance between work and child-rearing. They will also work to increase the percentage of women in government leadership positions to at least 30% by 2020. Italy will implement new programs to improve women’s ability to access scientific, technological, research, and corporate careers; and will implement its National Action Plan against Gender-Based Violence and Stalking. Mexico will target the economic empowerment of indigenous and rural women entrepreneurs through specially designed qualitative diagnostic needs based assessments; promote a significant increase of women in decision-making and leadership positions; and address the cycle of violence against women including prevention, services and access to justice.
To learn more about the progress other partnership countries have made on their commitments, click here.
This year on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly, the United States announced a number of new commitments, including:
White House Summit on Working Families: The financial security of hardworking American families is the foundation of a strong and growing economy. That’s why next spring President Obama will convene a White House Summit on Working Families, in partnership with the Center for American Progress and U.S. Department of Labor. The summit builds on the President’s plan to ensure a better bargain for hardworking Americans by elevating the ongoing national conversation about making today’s workplace work for everyone – from working parents struggling to balance the demands of their jobs with the needs of their families, to businesses seeking to attract and retain skilled workers and improve their bottom lines. In preparation for the Summit, the White House Council on Women and Girls will hold discussions with working families, employers, business and labor leaders, economists, and advocates to seek out new ideas for ensuring fair pay, encouraging more family-friendly workplaces, and improving and strengthening our businesses and our economy as a whole. Find out more about the U.S. commitments here.
Support from Multilateral and Private Sector Partners
To advance the goals of the Equal Futures Partnership, we are collaborating with multilateral stakeholders and the private sector to help countries strengthen and implement their efforts. The World Bank Group, host of From Promise to Progress: The Equal Futures Partnership in April 2013, will continue to work with partners to identify opportunities to support implementation of country commitments through analysis and advice, policy dialogue and financing. The new WBG strategy outlines new frontiers for joint collaboration and learning around gender-based violence, discrimination, and inequality at work. A major new report on women’s voice, agency, and participation will be released in Spring 2014, outlining major challenges and an agenda for action. UN Women will work with the Equal Futures Partnership in the areas of economic and political empowerment and ending violence against women through technical advice, knowledge and capacity development, facilitating and sharing of best practices, and supporting implementation of commitments at the country level. UN Women will use its Knowledge Gateway to disseminate experience coming from the Partnership.
In-Depth STEM Education for Girls: Girls Inc. and Discovery Education will collaborate to provide girls with access to Discovery Education’s STEM Camp – a dynamic series of standards-aligned STEM curricula built around the National Academy of Engineering’s grand engineering challenges. This partnership will further Girls Inc.’s efforts to encourage girls’ participation and achievement in STEM fields. This partnership will create opportunities for educators and mentors to participate in a series of Discovery Education professional development opportunities and receive training on best practices for implementing innovative STEM curricula.
Innovative Business Education for Women Entrepreneurs: Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold, Thunderbird School of Global Management, and BlueDrop Performance Learning commit to advancing women’s entrepreneurship through DreamBuilder, an innovative business training tool. Now launched in Peru, the partners together with the Peruvian government commit to rolling out the program to all Peruvian women. To support women in the U.S., Dreambuilder will be piloted with select Small Business Administration Women’s Business Centers, with an eye towards reaching the network of 100 centers nationwide serving almost 140,000 women.
Promoting Media Literacy: Miss Representation, an award-winning documentary, exposes mainstream media’s underrepresentation of women in positions of power and influence in America. MissRepresentation.org, a non-profit social action campaign and media organization, commits to partnering with community organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, businesses and educators to bring its curriculum to high-risk communities. Miss Representation has already reached an estimated 500,000 students, and commits to reach at least one million more youth across the U.S. by 2016. Their goals are to educate students about the harmful effects of gender stereotypes and strengthen the emotional health and well-being of at-risk girls and boys.
Training Women Veterans to Run for Public Office: The George Washington University’s Center for Second Service will design a Veterans Campaign training workshop for female veterans. The program will train them to continue their commitment to public service by running for office, seeking political appointments, and getting involved in campaigns and advocacy programs. They will work with veterans’ organizations and organizations focused on encouraging more women to serve in government to recruit and train a diverse group of female veterans.
Empowering Women and Advancing Food Security: Walmart and USAID are working together through a Global Memorandum of Understanding in Bangladesh to reach 40,000 women farmers. The International Fertilizer Development Center will teach these farmers to use a simple, productivity-enhancing and environmentally friendly technology called fertilizer deep placement to boost vegetable and fruit yields, thereby increasing incomes and dietary diversity.
Expanding Networks: WEConnect International commits to host business events that convene and assist women entrepreneurs and relevant stakeholders to connect and expand market opportunities and awareness. WEConnect will also partner with private sector leaders to provide training, skills and capacity building on how to access larger markets, including the supply chains of multinational corporations, in the following Equal Futures Partnership countries: Australia, Peru, and the United States.
Mentorship: The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women commits to providing business support through online mentoring and networking to advance women’s economic participation in select Equal Futures partner countries. The foundation will match women in developing and emerging countries with mentors around the world. Using an online platform developed in partnership with Google, mentors and mentees spend 12 months working one-on-one to achieve business goals. Participants build business skills and digital literacy, and become part of a global community of entrepreneurs.
Building Digital Literacy: Intel has committed to implement digital literacy training programs that advance women’s economic participation in select Equal Futures partner countries. This will provide women with skills on how to use technologies meaningfully in their lives and the basics of entrepreneurship. Participants will learn the basics of computer use as well as how ICT skills can be applied to a small business.
Private sector partners with ongoing commitments include: Ashoka, Causecast, Chegg, China Women’s University, Creative Commons, Discovery Communications, Discovery Education, Dove, Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, The Global Earthquake Model Foundation, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women, Harvey Mudd, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, HTC Corporation, Hyatt Hotels, Intel Corporation, Mary Kay, Open CourseWare Consortium, Piazza, Rutgers Center for American Women and Politics, Teachers without Borders, Techbridge, the University of Chicago, and WeConnect International.
JOINING THE PARTNERSHIP
We welcome additional countries who would be interested in joining the Equal Futures Partnership. Government representatives and other interested stakeholders may email EqualFutures@state.gov for more information.
- Cross posted from whitehouse.gov