In honor of International Women’s Day, Congresswomen Nita Lowey and Connie Morella introduced the “GAINS for Women and Girls Act,” the most comprehensive legislation on international women’s issues ever introduced into the U.S. Congress. The legislation is the centerpiece of a multi-year Women’s EDGE campaign to increase U.S. assistance for women and girls in developing countries and mobilize American women to influence U.S. foreign policy.
The legislation recognizes the importance of investments in women for the economic growth of developing countries, according to Women’s EDGE. Women in developing countries, they point out, comprise the vast majority of the workers in the fastest growing sector in most developing economies, the informal sector. Despite this, women and girls constitute the vast majority of the world’s poor – living on less than $1US per day. In addition, UN, US and World Bank studies have shown that women’s earnings tend to be directly invested in the education, health and welfare, making the investment dollar given to women go further in alleviating poverty. The GAINS calls for US aid to a variety of areas including poverty reduction, education, healthcare, human rights and agriculture.