The Asia Foundation

The Asia Foundation
Addressing the Critical Issues Facing Asia - 60 Years
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Increasing Women's Economic Opportunities

For more than half a century, The Asia Foundation has been a leader in helping women to realize their potential. We believe that investing in women fundamentally strengthens families and societies. Our Women's Empowerment Program develops women's leadership, strengthens women's organizations, increases women's rights and ensures their personal security, and creates new political and economic opportunities for women across the Asia-Pacific region.  

The Department of State, and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation present the new study: Access to Trade and Growth of Women's SMEs in APEC Developing Economies.

Barriers to Women's Economic Participation

Foundation programs address both the barriers to women’s equal economic participation (for example, laws restricting a woman’s right to own a business) and the lack of capacity (such as limited marketable vocational skills) that prevent women from fully claiming those rights. The Foundation has a long history of managing successful programs that enable girls and young women to claim their right to education, some of which have been expanded to reach significant numbers of low-income girls. In order for women and older girls to compete for jobs in the global economy, they also need access to appropriate vocational skills, such as access to business management and other vocational skills.

The Foundation also works to reduce barriers to create equitable conditions where women can prosper as entrepreneurs and where women workers can hold employers and government accountable for fair treatment in the workplace. The Foundation's programs assist women to overcome legal and regulatory barriers and challenge discriminatory practices by providing them with legal aid and equipping them with political organizing, negotiating, and networking skills that can make them effective advocates for policies that will create more jobs and ensure equitable opportunities and treatment in the workplace.

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