Remarks by Jenna Diallo, Office of Economic Development and Governance Deputy Chief, Launch of “Women Beyond Borders

Speeches Shim

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

[As Prepared]


At USAID, we believe that gender equality and women’s empowerment isn’t a part of development, but the core of development, fundamental to achieving our sustainable development goals.

For societies to thrive, women and girls must have access to education, healthcare and technology. They must have opportunities to control resources, lands and markets. And they must have equal rights and equal opportunities as breadwinners, peace-builders and leaders. When women and girls reach their full potential, no matter what field they may be in, they can become powerful exponents for uplifting their families, their communities and their nation, thereby building a stronger Philippines and ASEAN.

We are pleased to sponsor the publication of “Women Beyond Borders: The Beginning of GREAT Women in ASEAN.” For USAID, it is important to document and disseminate effective models that exemplify our goal of accelerate and sustaining inclusive growth while reducing gender disparities, helping women and girls realize their full potential and shape their own lives.

The Gender-Responsive Economic Actions for the Transformation of Women, or GREAT Women, provides an exemplary platform for asserting women’s critical role in propelling enterprise and expanding job opportunities. GREAT Women, in partnership with designers and retailers, assists disadvantaged (another word?or delete??) women producers and entrepreneurs to create better products, reach new markets, procure better and more inexpensive supplies, and sustainably manage business operations. All these ultimately lead to higher incomes for women entrepreneurs.

Take the case of 120 embroiderers who are part of the Rural Improvement Club in Baao, Camarines Sur. GREAT Women helped the embroiderers enhance their products and gain access to markets. As a result, these women now earn between 3 to 6 dollars per day, compared to just 1 dollar a day they earned previously.

I would like to congratulate GREAT Women for “ASEAN-izing” (not sure what this means...does it add to the meaning? Will it confuse the audience?) to reach out to more women entrepreneurs in the region. This domestic initiative has now transcended Philippine shores and, since 2015, has been scaled up to other ASEAN countries. Other ASEAN countries are able to take advantage of the GREAT Women brand, as well as the wider network of experts and peers. The book that we are launching now features stories of how GREAT Women has enhanced market access to microentrepreneurs by adapting products to market demands; creating an inclusive ecosystem that allows women toimprove product quality; and establishing advocacy-driven branding. It also highlights other USAID initiatives that have supported women entrepreneurs.

One of the prime movers of GREAT Women, Ms. Jeanie Javelosa is the author of this book, and will talk more about it shortly. I would also like to commend Tim Buehrer and his team at the USAID ASEAN Connectivity Through Trade and Investment for supporting the “ASEAN-izing” of GREAT Women, and Rebecca Hoffman, and her team at the USAID Trade-Related Assistance for Development for supporting the publication of this book.

We hope that the members of the ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs Network, other ASEAN member state representatives, and all those who are present here are inspired by, and learn from the exemplary work and experience of the GREAT Women.

In closing, I would like to underscore again USAID’s deep commitment to advancing gender equality and female empowerment, believing that this is essential for achieving our mutual development goals. Together, we can bring to fruition the vision of a world in which all people are equally empowered to secure better lives for themselves, their families, their communities, their countries and their regions.

Thank you very much.

Issuing Country 

Last updated: October 19, 2020

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