During the second day of the Clinton Global Initiative, foundations, nongovernmental organizations, and corporations announced thirteen new commitments designed to improve health care, education, and economic opportunity for women and girls worldwide.
Expanding on a partnership developed after the 2008 CGI meeting, Cherie Blair, founder of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, and Hani Masri, founder of Tomorrow's Youth Organization, pledged to increase women's participation in the Palestinian labor force by offering customized training opportunities and services that will increase participants' business, craft, and innovation skills. Other commitments included partnerships between Merck and Qiagen to prevent cervical cancer in the poorest countries of the world; the ING Foundation and Girls Inc. to help girls gain investing experience while saving money for college; and ExxonMobil, Ashoka's Changemakers, and the International Center for Research on Women to identify and deploy innovative technologies to advance economic opportunities for women in developing countries.
The commitments were announced during a plenary session that included discussions of ways to empower women and girls, a thematic focus included in this year's CGI meeting for the first time. Research has found that when women and girls are economically empowered, entire regions see measurable results.
"Women perform 66 percent of the world's work and produce 50 percent of the food, yet earn only 10 percent of the income and own 1 percent of the property," said former President Bill Clinton. "Whether the issue is improving education in the developing world, or fighting global climate change, or addressing nearly any other challenge we face, empowering women is a critical part of the equation."