Washington, D.C. – House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) and Rep. Lois Frankel (D-FL), Co-Chair of the bipartisan Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues, today introduced the Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment Act (H.R. 5480). The bipartisan legislation seeks to address gender-related barriers to economic growth and supports women-led enterprises.

Chairman Royce on the introduction of H.R. 5480: “In far too many places worldwide, women are still denied access to basic financial services like savings accounts. Additionally, they face discriminatory legal and regulatory systems, which hold back women entrepreneurs. It’s no wonder the majority of the world’s poor are women. By confronting these barriers women face, we can help lift people out of poverty and drive economic growth – by some estimates adding trillions of dollars to annual global GDP. That is why I am pleased to join Rep. Frankel in introducing this important legislation, which will help empower women to become stronger economic players.”

Rep. Frankel on the introduction of H.R. 5480: “This bill recognizes the imperative of improving the economic condition of women around the world. When we educate girls and empower women with the tools to support their families and add value to their communities’ economy, their nations will be safer, stronger, and more peaceful.”

Specifically, the Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment Act:

  • Makes it U.S. policy to reduce gender disparities related to economic participation and opportunity, strive to eliminate gender-based violence, support women’s property rights and improve the ability of women and girls to actively shape their futures;
  • Requires that gender-specific considerations and efforts to empower women be integrated throughout all United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) programs;
  • Expands support for small and medium-sized enterprises that are owned, managed and controlled by women; and
  • Modernizes USAID’s development assistance toolkit to include such items as financial literacy, technology and other actions that improve property and inheritance rights.

NOTE: The House Foreign Affairs Committee has long worked to ensure that women and girls around the world are included in, and empowered by, ongoing U.S. investments in diplomacy, development, and security. The committee has also passed legislation and held a series of public hearings to highlight and address some of the unique issues and challenges that women and girls face. Learn more here.