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Addressing Violence against Women and Children during COVID-19: It’s Time to Advance, Not Retreat

On March 20, President Tayyip Erdogan announced Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention, aimed at preventing and combatting violence against women and domestic violence. The first binding treaty on the topic, the Istanbul Convention seeks to promote governments’ accountability in preventing violence and ending legal impunity for perpetrators. Turkey’s announcement was met with immediate criticism; Turkish citizens took to the streets in protest, and world leaders, including US President Joseph Biden, issued public statements opposing the decision.

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Biden Wants to Eliminate Lead Poisoning in American Children. We Propose an Even More Ambitious Goal: Global Eradication.

We applaud the Biden Administration's effort to address lead poisoning in the US. But we suggest Biden adopt an even more ambitious goal: not just national elimination, but global eradication of lead poisoning, especially in children. A global eradication campaign—modelled loosely on prior and ongoing global efforts to eradicate smallpox, polio, and guinea worm, mixed with inspiration from the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control—would offer a tremendous contribution to global welfare, economic growth, and even world peace. An American-led effort to eliminate lead poisoning globally could be an international moonshot elevating the Biden administration’s international statue and legacy.

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Women’s Economic Empowerment as a US Development Priority: Still A Lot of Room for Improvement

While the previous US administration sought to elevate some elements of women’s economic empowerment within development policy, a recent report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) suggests there is considerable room for improvement, specifically in USAID’s support to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). The Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment (WEEE) Act, signed into law in early 2019, mandates that half of USAID’s investments in MSMEs target women-owned, managed, or controlled business and the very poor. But the GAO uncovered several issues that undermine USAID’s ability to determine how it has fared relative to this ambition.

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Governments Looking to Increase Women’s Economic Empowerment Might Want to Look in the Mirror

Government leaders worldwide are trumpeting the need for greater equality in the workplace. That’s the correct thing to do on the grounds of both rights and efficiency, but those leaders might want to start by looking within their own organizations. Today we publish a new policy paper that studies the choices governments have made in their own hiring and compensation decisions.

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Off to a Good Start: How the Biden-Harris Administration Can Strengthen DFC’s 2X Initiative

In March, the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) held its first board meeting of the Biden-Harris administration. At that meeting board members voted to approve just one project—a $300 million loan to expand a Brazilian bank’s lending portfolio to small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The loan is notably focused on increasing lending to women borrowers, as well as those in underdeveloped regions of the country, making the new administration’s first board-approved DFC investment a 2X Initiative project—a promising starting point.

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