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CGD’s work on gender focuses policies in aid, development finance, trade, migration and peacekeeping that will improve women’s economic empowerment worldwide.
Greater equality drives big gains in health, education, employment, and improved livelihoods—for individuals, their families, and their communities. However, in many parts of the world, women and girls, and other marginalized groups including LGBT people, still face legal, economic, and political constraints that prevent them from participating fully and equally in society. CGD uses evidence to show how governments, donor institutions, and the private sector can help create conditions in low- and middle-income countries that allow all people to thrive.
At the National Cathedral’s Sunday Forum last month, CGD’s co-founder and chair of the board, Edward W. Scott Jr., laid out his vision for a better world: economic opportunity and good health for all. In a wide-ranging conversation with Cathedral Dean Samuel T. Lloyd III, Scott focused on three main topics—expanding trade to promote economic development, solving critical problems in public health, and achieving gender equality worldwide.
At the top of his list of priorities, Scott underlined the limits of traditional development assistance, emphasizing the need for economic policies that allow poor countries to trade with the rest of the world. “Aid is not going to bring countries out of poverty,” he said. “The only way they’re going to get out of poverty is to develop their economies. And one of the most important ways for them to develop their economies is to export things to the rich countries.” He said that rich countries stifle the growth of developing countries’ export sectors by charging them high tariffs. Bangladesh and other countries with very poor populations pay higher tariffs than the developed nations of Western Europe, Scott lamented. “[Developing countries] are not a threat to our economy and yet we have these extraordinarily burdensome tariffs on these countries. And it really has to do with politics.” Lifting the barriers that prevent developing countries from accessing developed country markets is predicted to have profound, positive effects. “If we had unfettered free trade in the world,” Scott said, “500 million people would be almost instantly lifted out of poverty.”
Watch the interview at www.nationalcathedral.org
As another top priority, he listed what he described as ‘low-hanging fruit’ in the public health sector. He explained that, while we know how to prevent diseases like HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, they continue to kill millions in the developing world. “The truth is that the AIDS, TB, and malaria issues are emergencies—they’re like a forest fire…the fire is not out on these diseases. We have encouraging results, but there’s a long way to go.”
Finally, on gender equality, Scott highlighted the powerful effects that empowering women and girls has on issues ranging from health to economic development. He cited research linking girls’ education to an increase in women’s earning power, decreased incidence of HIV, and decreased incidence of domestic violence. However, he lamented, gender equity is an area where, as he put it, “talk is much more prevalent than action.” He discussed how cultural sensitivities can complicate efforts to solve problems like child marriage.
Scott has helped create a number of anti-poverty organizations including DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa) now known as ONE, which is dedicated to building public and political awareness about extreme poverty and preventable disease especially in Africa. Most recently, Scott launched the
CGD senior fellow and director of programs Ruth Levine has urged the U.S. Congress to push for independent evaluation of development assistance. In testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Levine said that independent impact evaluation is crucial for ensuring that the billions of dollars spent on development actually helps poor people.
In a pathbreaking follow-up to the 2008 report Girls Count, Miriam Temin and CGD vice president Ruth Levine shed light on the reality of girls’ health worldwide and its enormous on the wellbeing and productivity of girls, their families, and their nations. Start with a Girl: A New Agenda for Global Health highlights successful efforts to break the cycle of ill health and proposes a comprehensive, practical health agenda that starts with adolescent girls.
Join us as we launch CGD's newest report, Start With A Girl: A New Agenda For Global Health. The report, supported by the Nike Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is a complement to the 2008 publication, Girls Count: An Action and Investment Agenda, and is part of a series of publications about adolescent girls' education, health, and economic empowerment in the developing world. Start with a Girl: A New Agenda for Global Health conveys the importance of adolescent girls’ health as part of a broad human rights and economic development agenda and highlights the ways in which the health risks faced by girls can be addressed through specific, high-impact actions by the international community, national governments, and civil society.
Ambassador of Global Women's Issues Melanne Verveer will describe the administration's commitment to girls' wellbeing in developing countries, including the State Department’s current efforts and future plans. Following Ambassador Verveer’s address, authors Ruth Levine and Miriam Temin will give a brief overview of the contents of the report and a preview of the eight recommendations for promoting adolescent girls' health. This will be followed by a lively panel discussion.
The wellbeing of adolescent girls has a decisive impact on developing countries' current and future economic and social prosperity, but girls' needs remain at the margins of global development policies and programs. Why should we pay more attention to girls? What difference can adolescent girls make in achieving positive development outcomes? How can stakeholders initiate effective investments that will give girls in developing countries a full and equal chance for rewarding lives and livelihoods?
Following a personal statement by a young woman who has experienced many hardships in her own country, the authors of Girls Count: A Global Investment & Action Agenda will present their findings and policy recommendations. Participants will also hear from leading policymakers about key strategies to improve the wellbeing of girls and young women.