Today I announce a new partnership with the World Bank to enhance women’s economic empowerment in South East Asia over the next four years.

The $15 million investment coincides with International Women's Day and the 20th Anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action for gender equality.

Increasing women’s participation is one of the most powerful ways to improve economic and development outcomes. Goldman Sachs estimates that closing the employment gender gap in countries in our region, including Vietnam and the Philippines, could push per-capita incomes 14 per cent higher than current projections by 2020 and 20 per cent higher by 2030.

Through this partnership we will work with the World Bank and private sector to support women entrepreneurs to access financial services and build their business skills.  The partnership will also work with large companies to improve employment opportunities for women, improve their workplace policies, and increase the use of services provided by women entrepreneurs in their supply chains.

The partnership will focus on improving knowledge of how to increase women’s economic opportunities and applying those lessons to the design of programs and policies. This will be done through creation of a South East Asia Gender Lab to undertake data collection, analysis and impact evaluations.

Australia’s investment in women’s empowerment through practical programs such as this partnership with the World Bank supports our international commitments, including at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW59).

This week Australia’s Ambassador for Women and Girls, Natasha Stott Despoja will accompany the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women, Michaelia Cash to CSW59 in New York to advocate for renewed international commitment and momentum toward gender equality.

Media enquiries

  • Minister's office: (02) 6277 7500
  • DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555