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Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE)


Since 2018, the Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP) has been actively focused on creating Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) programs. CLDP’s technical assistance strives to improve the legal and business enabling environment for women entrepreneurs, lawyers, and other public and private stakeholders in host countries overseas. CLDP’s WEE programs also emphasize improving economic strategies, laws, systems, and policies to advance economic equality on a structural level in our partner countries, in accordance with U.S. policy and international business practices. These programs are funded through foreign assistance funds through interagency agreements with the State Department and USAID.

CLDP WEE Program Areas and Countries/Regions:

  • Commercial Rights: Middle East, North Africa, South Caucasus

  • Public Procurement: Dominican Republic, Bahrain, and Moldova

  • Trade and Business Networking: Central Asia

Commercial Rights:  CLDP programs address how commercial and economic laws can enable women in the economy, through contract enforcement, and application of existing legal rights through awareness building and capacity building. For example, in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, CLDP provides workshops and trainings related to enforcement of existing commercial laws for women legal professionals and women entrepreneurs. Recent workshops have specifically focused on empowering women in technology with an emphasis on promoting entrepreneurship through IPR, negotiating licensing agreements, access to finance, and market access.  Countries and Regions: MENA, Tunisia, South Caucasus, Azerbaijan 

Public Procurement: CLDP programs focus on helping women entrepreneurs gain access to government contracting and public procurement systems, while working in partnership with governments and businesses to address barriers. These programs build awareness about public procurement systems, including understanding various components and stages of government contracting, as well as opportunities for women-owned businesses to access the system. Additionally, CLDP programs also focus on building greater transparency with respect to the procurement system of the countries it provides technical assistance programming to including emphasis on key tools such as electronic procurement and e-advertising, which in turn helps provides equal and more transparent access to such contracts. Countries: Dominican Republic, Bahrain, and Moldova  

Trade and Business Networking:   CLDP’s technical assistance provides greater access to trade and business networking for women entrepreneurs through programs that emphasize amplifying women’s voices and industry interests by providing a CLDP platform to build women’s economic working groups.  For example, CLDP’s Central Asia Regional Women’s Economic Empowerment Working Group (WEE) promotes (1) increased trade and economic activity by women-owned businesses in and across Central Asian countries through strategic partnerships between local and national chambers of commerce and trade associations, and (2) increased trade and commerce in Central Asia through advancements made in regional e-commerce framework. WEE Working Group participants identify obstacles that inhibit business operations in the region in a unified voice and develop actionable recommendations to address them. 

Countries: Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan)

Department-Wide and Interagency Gender Equity and Equality Efforts: As a member of the Commerce's Women's Economic Empowerment Working Group, CLDP has led greater coordination, engagement, and organization of work to advance women's economic empowerment at the agency and at the interagency level. On a monthly basis, the Working Group meets to share best practices and coordinate all women's economic empowerment programs at the Department, and team members share expertise and collaborate on intra-department projects. CLDP staff also contributed to the National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality, which creates an overarching framework to promote gender equity efforts across the U.S. government. 


Areas of Expertise
Countries and Regions