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Women & Families

Gender - the "World's Greatest Untapped Resource"

For all the progress women have made around the world, many gaps persist - the wage gap, poverty gap, education gap, technology gap, access-to-capital gap. The United States is working with OECD member countries to close these gaps by showing that countries can increase equity and growth - and do so without breaking the bank.

The United States is leading efforts at the OECD to identify, analyze and remedy barriers to women's participation in the economy. Removing these obstacles can speed the global recovery and fight economic insecurity plaguing families around the world.

Following a formal request from the United States, the OECD launched in 2011 the Gender Initiative, a multi-pronged effort involving governments, businesses and families. The OECD identifies gender gaps by gathering and producing comparative data across countries, in partnership with the World Bank, International Finance Corporation, United Nations and European Union.  Data-driven ideas are tested and strengthened through an Employer Engagement Network. Policy recommendations and solutions are peer-reviewed before publication.

At the OECD Ministerial Council Meeting in May 2011, Secretary Clinton welcomed the interim OECD Gender Report, which was the first output of the Gender Initiative. She called on the OECD, the World Bank and UN Women to work with other international organizations to improve gender data, making them more common, comparable and useful. Their plan was presented at the fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, Korea.  The interim OECD Gender Report was adopted as a key policy document at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum Women in the Economy Summit in San Francisco.  The final report was delivered at the 2012 OECD Ministerial.

The United States is actively working to advance the economic empowerment of women in the Middle East, through the OECD-MENA Women's Business Forum, co-chaired by Ambassador Karen Kornbluh.  The Forum engages MENA governments, businesses, commercial lenders, and private equity market leaders to develop solutions to challenges Arab businesswomen face such as access to finance, access to business services and access to markets. 

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