Voice and Agency: Empowering Women and Girls for Shared Prosperity featuring the Hon. Hillary Rodham Clinton
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Voice and Agency: Empowering Women and Girls for Shared Prosperity featuring the Hon. Hillary Rodham Clinton

Date: Wednesday, May 14th, 2014
Time: 5:15 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. ET (21:15 – 22:30 GMT or convert time)
Location: World Bank Headquarters (Preston) & Online

The persistent constraints and deprivations that prevent many of the world’s women from achieving their potential have huge consequences for individuals, families, communities, and nations. Expanding women's agency—their ability to make decisions and take advantage of opportunities—is key to improving their lives as well as the world we all share.
-- World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim, Foreword, Voice and Agency: Empowering Women and Girls for Shared Prosperity

A new World Bank report, Voice and Agency: Empowering Women and Girls for Shared Prosperity, distills vast data and hundreds of studies to cast important new light on the constraints women and girls face worldwide, from epidemic gender-based violence to biased laws and norms that prevent them from making decisions about their own lives. These constraints are not only fundamentally unjust but economically unwise, slowing efforts to end poverty and boost shared prosperity.

Join us for a discussion about this groundbreaking report, which focuses on freedom from violence, control over sexual and reproductive health, ownership and control of land and housing, and voice and collective action.

Dr. Jim Yong Kim, World Bank Group President, Welcome
Hon. Hillary Rodham Clinton, former U.S. Secretary of State, Keynote
Jeni Klugman, Director, Gender & Development, World Bank Group, Findings
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director, UN Women, Discussant

Related Links:
Voice & Agency Background Papers
- World Bank Gender Website



Former US Secretary of State
President, World Bank Group
Executive Director, UN Women
Director, Gender & Development, World Bank Group
(Moderator) Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations
See what others are saying
United Kingdom
What are the latest findings on addressing cultural and social norms for lasting results? This is one of the biggest obstacles in my opinion.
Dr. Ashish Manohar Urkude
Women are deprived from decision making bodies as top level men expect to continue the dirty politics, hopeless-economics, wars and terrorims, and dirty business. Otherwise, why USA couldnot find a Presidential candidate? Why women in India could not get 33% reservation in parliament? Similar cases could be found in Russia, China, France, Japan, and top countries around the world. Deprivation of women has stopped human evolution in recent times. If human civilisation has to expand to places, we need to evolve at this front, then only we'll sustain or we'll perish. Hope you'll touch this point in your all important discussion.
Frances Burke
United States
With the world economy, environmental protection and ethics concerns going down globally, assisting Women & Girls to gain empowerment much less prosperity is a valued path. Let's keep our eyes on the prize.
Alban P.
Besides women, how much are MEN involved in all the noble actions to empower women and unleash their ignored strength and potential? If not...and or at a satisfactory level, what would be the best ways to involve 50% of folks from Mars to collaborate with the amazing 50% from Venus to bring a 100% of human beings utilizing their potential, jointly? Thank You/Faleminderit Shume. p.s. Takes two to tango, no?
Felicity Queen Mtshali
South Africa
I own a Club, registered one focusing on Empowerment, skills development, also teaching them how To be financially free, showing them some tactics of making money, My question is , How the Agency helps? We are based on the Southern Africa.. Women in Rural Areas need Agricultural Equipment for Farming. So the AGENCY WILL HELP...?
Franck Laurent
Cote d'Ivoire
Women and girls education - particularly in under developed counries is a great concern to me. And when I notice that in some countries, some traditions or believes, women and girls are still considered as just "a thing" or "a good" men possess... I am so shocked. How can they be empowered, effectivley contribute the development of their countries - participate to a "shared properity" process if they are not educated?
maloka david
South Africa
We from SA and got wonderful projects that could help poverty and unemployment,is there anyway we could apply for funding?
Lott Chidawaya
United States
Religion and associated interpretations/MIS-interpretations of religious teachings shapes most societal attitudes towards women, what are the latest findings on the Role of Religion in Subjugating Women. I use the strong term "subjugation" because that's how I perceive any teachings that belittles women - I have just become a dad to a daughter and I find (with more renewed zeal) Religious attitudes towards women quite barbaric, primitive and devilish!
Michelle Higelin
ActionAid welcomes this report as promoting women's voice and agency is central to our work to end poverty and inequality around the world, with a focus on the most vulnerable. My question to the speakers is how can we ensure that women's agency is central to the new post-2015 development framework and adequately resourced and prioritised by governments in comparison to other areas?
Zoubida Al Tayib
United States
How much do "societal" pressures (having to handle a lot) on women affect the upbringing of their children? Is there a way to alleviate some of the pressure (a more flexible work schedule, assistance with daycare, pay equality) to allow a more balanced and safer family, thus a more balanced and safe society? I think that if women presence increases to at least 50% in most or hopefully all domains, our world would be a better place, because their input is of as a great importance as that of men.
Piyush Godse
One of the serious and rapidly growing issue many nations especially India & China facing is "selective abortion of female fetuses". Despite being world's oldest civilizations many parents in these countries are cruelly killing their innocent unborn girls. Since these two countries together contribute to almost one third of the world's population this should be one of the most challenging problem the world in 21st century is facing like terrorism. My question to World Bank is have they implemented any program or do they have any strategy regarding this issue.
Judith Solomon
A woman is an essence of power, direction and reasoning for nations. The constraints facing her nowadays are a result of her viewed as the lesser human in the community and yet she has so much influence; many successful men can confirm that their achievements are a result of the love, sacrifice, guidance and sheer determination of either a mother, wife or even sister. That gave me a certain perspective about a woman; when she aims for the gold she never loses focus. Let’s all stand together and support women who are following their dreams either in business, politics, academic, etc. Empowering a woman actually enriches the whole nation as they are the ones nurturing the future leaders.
Gnanaraj Moses
United States
Educating men to realize how much their lives and the lives of the mother, wife, daughter can be enhanced and enjoyed if we learn to treat the women in our lives with genuine love, respect, dignity, tenderness, and compassion. In this context if we can find a way to educate religious leaders(mostly men) who among them seem to misuse their faiths to repress women be it Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, etc. HOW CAN WE EDUCATE THESE MEN WHO THINK THEY KNOW BUT DON'T?
Dirichi Onyeukwu
United States
Considering the recent happenings in Nigeria (West Africa) on abducted girls who are the future leaders of tomorrow, in what way can America help women in Africa and also African women that reside in the United States? In the case of building their confidence to be able to stand up in their various countries and the international community at large? What's the integral role the world bank plays to see the actualization of this dream? #WomenCan
Darrell Calvin Brown
United States
Understanding just how serious it is to instill,legislate for,promote,advocate for,and enforce social justice; What words of wisdom have you to say to those young girls and adult women about NOT falsifying reports in attempts to strike revenge against men whom they can not either have sex with or get the attention of? It is a very serious problem on the other side of the coin of social & racial injustice. It is a most disgusting projection of anger via our police forces and system of justice here in the United States of America and other regions of the world.
Susan Telingator
United States
Do you still believe in the relevance of CEDAW or any other instruments that ask countries to unite on policy positions when in reality many countries don't follow through and are not held accountable, even after they sign on to these treaties? Why don't we, as a global community try to find other mechanisms, whether local or national, to ensure that fundamental human rights and dignity are honored?
Respected Madam, In Nigeria, many young girl students were abducted and kept hostage. And now very worrying news are coming that they will be sold, they will be used and so on so forth. Is it not damaging the mood of empowering the women ?. Why world body keeping silent and mum and as such tolerating this at all?
Respected Madam, Would like post another very vulnerable issues here in India. Here a large numbers of women consisting of aged, children, housewives, un-married and single are working as domestic help. But there are no support for them from any sector of society except the pittance and sympathy and apathy of the household working for. Why Government and social and world bodes are not coming forward to do something for this highly exploited and un-organised sector who supports their household for raising and educating their children, extending helping bend to their husbands / father / brother and other family members ? Is it deliberate?
Dr Olakanmi Oluwatomiisin
At the moment in Nigeria,we're quite 'famous' for the kidnapping of some school girls for more than a month and the world has joined us in demanding for their release. How will the agency be contributing its help especially in these 'war torn' areas with the injustices to females. Also the southwestern rural agrarian communities which has female breadwinners usually don't get extension services and can't access funds/non existent financial literacy skills es (if it is available in the first place) thereby limiting their economic strength and translating to children that are malnourished, recycle poverty,can't attend school etc. How can the agency help to bridge this gap and help with rural women empowerment. ( I have an organisation that provides veterinary extension services to rural women but we need help to expand and be more effective
Radha Paudel
Would you share the best practices to reaching out the REAL poor, rural, and marginalized wome
Joel Ssekabira
Africa is greatly affected than all other parts of the world. In this case i will sight out an example of female genital mutilation particularly in Uganda, to own land when women are treated as 'animals' equal opportunities to education amongst other uncouth cultural practices in Africa. What has the world bank done of recent to address these practices?
Leigh Anne Ingram
Formal education is critical in empowering girls, especially in today's globalized world where diversity in many forms increasingly prevails. What would be the major changes you would recommend to educational curriculi so that girls would emerge from formal schooling not only with skills but also with a sense of equality and empowerment vis a vis their male counterparts?
His Majesty Dr. ATEM-EBAKO
How do you plan to support the strengthening of Cameroonian rural community structures and managerial processes to provide the enabling environment for women and girls for their ability to make decisions and take advantage of opportunities which are key to sustainably improving their lives as well as the world we all share?
Mrs Saranya Sinthuchon
How can help that Girl I worry about's I pray for them.
women are more deprived in courruption country. High posts are deserved for those who have money. For those who do not have money they loose those posts. Women are forced to be engaged in love affairs inorder to get those posts. This tendency udermine women. The issue of qualification, cpmpetence and experience do not have room in corruption country. How women will exercise their knowledge and skills in these kind of countries
women are more deprived in courruption country. High posts are deserved for those who have money. For those who do not have money they loose those posts. Women are forced to be engaged in love affairs inorder to get those posts. This tendency udermine women. The issue of qualification, cpmpetence and experience do not have room in corruption country. How women will exercise their knowledge and skills in these kind of countries
Shamina shafiq
Empowering women and girls for shared prosperity. .. Indeed an important point to ponder ... my question to the esteemed panel is What role can or rather should "empowered" women play to ensure that atleast one woman/girl gets the real sense of empowerment... be it educational empowerment, legal empowerment, economic empowerment, Social empowerment or psychological empowerment? My humble suggestion is Let us evaluate as to how EMPOWERED the "empowered women" actually are how can they contribute .
Lori Taguma
United States
Please offer funding to women for business startups, education, and employment, directly from your organization. Tribal women are subjected to discrimination in every way, especially those who do not have a huge family to offer protection and political support.
Faustine Wabwire
United States
Gender policy and debates over the years have concentrated on only one part of the equation--women. We ought to realize that social/cultural norms are a big factor, and that in order to empower women in a way that brings broad-based benefits to society, we must work with men too. What are some of the creative models that have been successful in bringing men on board, to work with women for the benefit of society?
Rosalie Dech
United States
Will all women have access to birth control in the developing world?
Mulekye T. Mukoko
United States
From what is happening to girls around the world, I think personally that Hillary Clinton did not structure a strong system to protect girls in developing countries. I saw women gather in international meetings, discuss about very important socio-economical issues but what is done to fight in rural areas and even cities is not enough. I would like to know the new agenda, actions even the first lady Michel Obama talks about it what do we have for our protection and access to good education is not there. Please correct if I am wrong....all these type of behavior are results, signs, and weaknesses of leaders in respective countries... Thank you, Mukoko
Kay Richmond
United Kingdom
1 - when will you make microcredit more available to women? They use it for the benefit of their community. 2 - when will you ensure that all have access to potable water near to their home? This would save women and girls from the danger of rape which they face by having to walk miles and for hours - and give them more time for education. 3 - When will you ensure that all have access to solar power - cookers to help the women, not least through not having to collect firewood and face an increased risk of rape; lamps to enable students to study after dark?
The role models provided by great religions of the world on all continents make women second class in God's name. High-level tackling and raising awareness of this obvious and universal inequality should be a priority. Unless religious practice and teaching becomes gender neutral all other pressures will be in vain.
Peterlene Bautista
YES to Women Empowerment!
Liana Allan
Which is the best method to have men participate in this discussion so that by collaboration, the voices of women become a global priority for both genders?
Kim J.H.
Korea, Rep.
In detail, what ways have the changes towards social and cultural norms been implemented? How well have they been accepted, and with successful, promising long-term results?
up to date young women continue to be subject of human trafficking for sexual exploitation; this is an act of terrorism across the world vis a vis the female person. what is being done to eradicate this dirty business of the last two centuries?can this be part of the next SDGs?
Park Dong Myoung
Korea, Rep.
In Korea, there are growing concerns that policies built to support woman's right are actually causing reverse discrimination to man. What principle should be made to keep both gender an even right?
Haruka Matsukawa
How can we address the gender issues related on religions like Islam?For example,while many people who are not Muslim regard the hijab which covers their heads as discrimination against women,the Muslim women desire to wear it. So, we cannot achieve the equality of gender from our views. I would like you to discuss this topic in this congress!!
Dr. Ananh Norasingh
United States
Empowering Women and Girls for Shared Prosperity, distills vast data and hundreds of studies to cast important new light on the constraints women and girls face worldwide, from epidemic gender-based violence to biased laws and norms that prevent them from making decisions about their own lives. These constraints are not only fundamentally unjust but economically unwise, slowing efforts to end poverty and boost shared prosperity. This is not all true about end poverty, however, we should give the women the right & opportunity to take part of action.
Rajkumar Prasad
Dear Madam, I have a question that when 15 years ago then President used IT for development and created Information Super Highway concept and Initative which leads to success and it is reality which called eGovernance. Why not Woman and IT/eGovernance adoptation in different countries, and Why Not Woman and eGovernance Policy ? Why not World Government focusing and empowering Woman through ICT/eGovernance/Mobile/ Socil Media? Is any UN/Worldbank member countries have IT and Woman Policy ?I believe ICT will play a very imporvement role in terms of Empowering Women and Girls for Shared Prosperity featuring for their socio-economic development. What I believe that We Together Lets Create a Knowledge Society where Woman can be leaders.
Ann Kele
One of the most important aims of the national and international communities is to find the methods (path) how to reduce poverty. Many people make huge efforts all over the world. However something has failed. Activists and civilians have become too agressive. Many of them do not understand that collecting money or giving money is not the only help in order to reach the aim what is supported by individuals and companies. Could you help to explain to those who are concerned:a big part of the taxes collected is originating in consumption of goods( the people's consumption living in poverty cann't be the same as the other's)? However even when the local governments have limited resources for these purposes, the gap between rich and pover in the health-care should not be so big as in other fields of the economy.
Laxman Neupane
Ma'am Clinton; women of developing world has immense contribution from well being of her family to the national economy as well as sustainability of resources especially biological resources case; despite of their sheer amount of strength, knowledge and skill, is there any instrument can you share here for us what could be policy strategy that we could bring them front line of development mainstream and keep them safe and secured?
Ashley So Hee Park
Korea, Rep.
These days, most people said that there are no more unfair things between gender. But does that true? Women and Girls are in negative situations. For example, after marrage, women have to get out of their office when they have babies. Also, women usually focus on children more than men. This is just one part of the things. I think women influence is expanded compared with several years. But there are still so many injustice ways. This statement tell about empowering women and girls, but how? Do we have some brilliant ideas? Laws, Manners or kind of categories have notice about equal. But knowing and behaving is definately different. How do you empower them? And do you certain those thinkings will going to work well? By the way, think about bokoharam. This world issue showed that girls are good target for bad people. Women must be highly protected because they do not have so much power to resist violences. In my opinion, the most important thing is people's mind. Then, What will you do to change stereotypes for women and girls? And how?
Hamadullah Sohu
What steps are being taken by you to empower women ?
Hae JI Yoo
Korea, Rep.
Dear Hillary Clinton, your one of the most successful women in the world. If you have any experience that you felt you were discriminated because of your gender, please share with us and tell us how should we respond to gender discrimination.
Katherine Ellington
United States
How do we open more opportunity for young women regardless of professional endeavor to experience global enrichment. Tell us about your very first trip abroad and its meaning in your life and work.
United States
Hello Secretary. Can you please provide any additional insight into why Boko Haram was not declared a terrorist organization at the State Dept.? And how effective do you believe the hashtag and social media is in exerting social change, in this case, and more broadly in your experiences in diplomacy?
Michele Stopera Freyhauf
United States
As we see more migration of women seeking employment due to largely to globalization, a problem that we call "feminization of poverty," which contributes to the long-term poverty of countries (despite short term gains, but losses for families with mothers living abroad), how can we stop this migration and encourage women through vehicles like micro loans to work out of their own homes or set up small businesses (i.e. teaching them sustainable skills as well as continue with their education)?
Ana Paula Csuraji
I would like to know more about case studies and programs for the fight against gender-based violence through the empowerment of women and girls in Morocco, as well as thoughts and strategies by addressing the linkages between their poverty and their vulnerability.
More initiatives should be introduced to empower and educate women globally. women are the bedrock of the society, they give birth to,nurture and train today and future generation. Also empowering and educating women has a ripple effect in the society. we empower women with free vocational /livelihood skills, make them banked and provide access to finance, our page is www.facebook.com/mmbl4w
Mayra Juarez
United States
Dear Mrs. Clinton, What kind of changes do you see in the near future in regard how the west delivers aid and empowerment to women in other parts of the world since there is doubt about genuine care from our part? Thank you for your time!
Korea, Rep.
What is the fundermental reason why rights of women and girls have been ignored and invaded. And what do international organizations to prevent females from discrimination?
Korea, Rep.
What is the fundermental reason why rights of women and girls have been ignored and invaded. And what do international organizations to prevent females from discrimination?
Jun Yu Seok
Korea, Rep.
you are the one of the person who could be a the president of the USA. There is relatively high possibilities in this election. So, maybe it's a rude to you, If you could be a president what does you implement about the girl's problem? and what is your basically idea about dealing the girl's problems?
Kwon Yurim
Korea, Rep.
It is old think that women and girls power is weak and have social limit but, still we have problem of that like glass ceiling. What's your think about women social limit?
Lee da hee
Korea, Rep.
nowaday, many waman is suffered from many reason. one of that is circumcision. some Africa tribe doing circumcision under the name of tradition. I want to know what you do. And if you want to stop that tradition, how to persuade they stopping circumcision
Ms. Jena Roscoe
United States
Operation HOPE is dedicated to working on financial inclusion initiatives globally and especially providing access to financial capital for women and girls in local communities worldwide. We monitor the financial gap of access to capital for women and girls from the World Bank's Financial Inclusion Database and remain concerned that more financial inclusion initiatives need to be supported in these local communities. What support efforts may ngo's like Operation HOPE provide with the UN and World Bank's efforts to assist women and girls access to financial capital? An example of the gap is found in Turkey where you see Men have a 58% access to a formal financial institution and Women have a 33% access to a formal financial institution, http://datatopics.worldbank.org/financialinclusion/country/turkey In Sub - Saharan Africa, we some positive strides like in South Africa where the gap is only a 3% difference, Men with 54% and Women with 51%, http://datatopics.worldbank.org/financialinclusion/country/south-africa In the Middle East like Saudia Arabia, the gap is 46% for Men with access to a formal financial institution and for Women its 15%, http://datatopics.worldbank.org/financialinclusion/country/saudi-arabia Thank you, for the consideration to provide this question for dialogue. May today's dialogue be well received by all!
Farah Mohamed
On behalf of G(irls)20, my question focusses on the challenge we are seeing in terms of the employment of girls and women. Globally, levels of underemployment and unemployment are incredibly high. My concern is that while we work to send and keep more girls in school, when they graduate they are not finding jobs in their area of expertise which leads them to a more informal economy where rights, benefits, fair wages are not always available. How can we address this challenge so that the work that has gone into educating girls and women, results in meaningful employment which will lead to a country's growth and stability. Thank you, Farah Mohamed
Shamim Juma
Being a member of Activista how is the agency going to network with us inorder to get empowered as women and stand firm to fight social injustices as a way of ending poverty.
Francesca De Antoni
Working in the field I realized that many times the main obstacle hindering women empowerment lies within their own families and takes the shape of intrafamiliar violence. Also, in most cases, impunity for the perpetrators seems to be the norm, even if the woman takes the courage to speak up. How do you think development efforts can tackle this problem? how can public institutions be encouraged to take this issue seriously?
Being a member of Activista how is the agency going to network with us inorder to get empowered as women and stand firm to fight social injustices as a way of ending poverty.
Baylee B.
United States
What are ways in which we can get MEN more involved in the issue of women's empowerment as well?
Vale Chikoti-Bandua
As an angolan woman who is working to mobilize and encourage other Angolan, and Sub-Saharan women. What steps or ideas or suggestions would you recommend for young and emerging African women leaders to take to be more pro-active when addressing human rights and social issues?
Katri Kemppainen-Bertram
How would you rate the importance of institutions (education, social systems, etc.) vs the importance of 'glass ceiling cracking'?
South Africa
When shall world's socio-economic imbalances be addressed genuinely& what is your agency doing in that regard.
United States
Taking into account the diversity (around the world) – in terms of the social, political and cultural contexts: - What in your opinion would be the most effective way forward to bringing about major changes in the way governments and people understand and perceive gender/women’s issues and concerns so that they can address them effectively?
Eloisa Acha
United States
First of all my admiration and support for your efforts in incorporating science and technology education in prosperity and as vehicles for empowerment and sustainable development. My question is around the role and examples of how the private sector can empower women/girls beyond social responsibility but rather a shared-value approach.
Oltac Unsal
Would Mme President (;-) please comment on the coal mi e explosion in Turkey that so far claimed lives approaching 300 with many missing? #soma
Corazon Shimizu
Worldwide women lag behind men in science and technology field. This is a fact. One of the main causes is a bias against female scientists or engineers. I would like to know how US is working to solve this issue. Science is one of the fields where more women need to advance. For example, since March this year, a young and creative female stem-cell researcher has been under attack by the largest STEM research Institute and the media in Japan. Thus, the breakthrough in STEM research by her team is on hold.