Women carrying baskets in Morocco. U.K. Secretary of State for International Development Justine Greening announced a new scheme that will help improve Arab women's access to economic opportunities. Photo by: Piero Sierra / CC BY-NC-SA

Justine Greening has a new scheme that promises to improve Arab women’s access to jobs and business opportunities.

On the first day of the G-8 Deauville Partnership in London, the British aid chief announced the Arab Women in Business Challenge Fund to support “practical projects that are both commercially viable and which have a positive economic impact on women.”

The Department for International Development’s initial contribution will be worth 4 million pounds, but Greening has asked for additional funds from other donors, including the private sector.

DfID also announced plans to establish a pool of experts who can advise governments on potential legislative reforms to help improve women’s economic participation.

“In many countries, property obtained through marriage is on paper owned by the man. This makes it very difficult for women to get access to finance […] In the workplace, women also regularly lose out on non-wage benefits” in countries like Egypt, where there is a 32 percent wage gap between men and women,” Greening said in her speech at the two-day event.

Advancing women’s rights and opportunities are part of DfID’s priorities under Greening, who in March also announced funding for several female empowerment programs.

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About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.