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IWD2023 Reflections: Women’s Economic Empowerment deserves greater effort from governments and the private sector

Thought Piece /08 March 2023

This International Women’s Day, I want to take a moment to reflect on the achievements of Investing in Women (IW), an initiative of the Australian Government that has been transforming lives and improving economic opportunities for women in South East Asia.

Over the last seven years, Investing in Women has made significant strides in promoting women’s economic empowerment in the region. We are proud of the program’s accomplishments, which include:

These achievements would not have been possible without the innovative spirit and collaborative efforts of all our partners and stakeholders.

However, there is still much to be done to make the world safer, more inclusive, and more equitable for women. The persistent gender gap in digital access, underrepresentation of women in STEM education and careers, and the threat of online gender-based violence are major barriers to women’s full participation, especially in tech design and governance.

To this end, I want to assure you that the great work of Investing in Women and the ongoing Australian Government support in the region will be continued to be delivered through a new phase of IW which is currently starting up. This continuity ensures that the progress we have made will continue to be built on.

Women’s economic empowerment is critical to stronger economic growth and more resilient economies. More than ever, it deserves a greater effort from governments and the private sector. As we make this transition, I call on all of us to continue working together and explore creative solutions that can empower women and girls to unlock their full potential as leaders, entrepreneurs, and catalysts for positive change towards a brighter, more sustainable future.

We express our heartfelt gratitude to all who have supported the success of IW and we look forward to the opportunities that the new IW program will bring.


– Julia Newton-Howes, CEO, Investing in Women




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