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Women and Development policy review group launched

7 March 2011

Today, on the eve of the 100th International Women’s Day, Labour launched a policy review into women and development: “Supporting the sustainable empowerment of women and girls in the developing world”.

As part of the wide-ranging review of Labour Party policies, this group will look at the barriers that women across the world still face in accessing education, healthcare and economic opportunities, as well as a staggering lack of political representation.

The group will be chaired by Cherie Blair, who in 2008 established the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, which works with organisations based in Africa, South Asia and the Middle East jointly developing projects with  local partners to help women start and expand their businesses.

The review will look into 6 areas:

  • Supporting the sustainable empowerment of women and girls in developing countries
  • Making growth work for the poor and generating resources for development
  • Climate Change, resource scarcity and food insecurity –mapping and responding to the challenges
  • Conflict, security and development
  • Beyond governments: Recognising and building greater support for international development
  • The challenge of inequality between and within countries

Underlining the importance of the policy review and Labour’s dedication to international development, Cherie Blair said:

“Women are the drivers of change across the world. They are far more likely than men to invest their incomes back into their families – helping to drive up better health standards and educational opportunities for their children, which in turn benefits the wider community.

“That’s why working for the economic independence of women is vital to the fight against global poverty. But there are so many barriers faced by women and girls in the developing world, that they are often unable to participate in economic or political life and struggle to get access to healthcare and education for themselves, let alone their families. 

“We need to look afresh at how countries like the UK, through their development efforts, can help make a real difference to the status and power of women in the developing world.”

Welcoming the selection of Cherie Blair as Chair, Harriet Harman, Shadow International Development Secretary, said:

“I am delighted that Cherie Blair has agreed to chair this group. She is a committed campaigner for women and girls in the developing world. Her contribution will be invaluable.”

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