What’s a good way to strengthen a country’s economy? For starters, empower half the population.
“It’s very simple: If women are able to thrive, societies thrive. And nowhere is that more true than in the Middle East and in North Africa,” said Secretary of State John Kerry at an event honoring the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women–U.S. Department of State Entrepreneurship Program for Women in the Middle East.
“Time and again, we see that countries with the greatest representation of women in management positions deliver a higher return to shareholders than those who push women out,” Kerry said.
For the two-week program, 29 women entrepreneurs from the Middle East toured America to focus on entrepreneurship and leadership training. During the trip, the women attended a four-day training event at Harvard University’s Kennedy School and networked with American business leaders and policymakers.
“We’re talking about getting out of the way, breaking down the barriers so that women and girls can make full use of their energy, their talent, and their brains to do what they want to do and can do,” Kerry said. “That’s called empowerment, and that’s exactly what this is about.”
Goldman Sachs launched the 10,000 Women program in 2008 to help women entrepreneurs around the world start or grow their own businesses through education, networking and access to capital.
The State Department supports women’s economic empowerment through programs like TechWomen and the Fortune/U.S. State Department Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership, which connects American women executives with emerging women leaders around the world.