International Women’s Day: The Impact, Potential, and Difficulties Women of Color Face in the Global Economy and the Criminal Justice System

Washington, D.C.–(ENEWSPF)–March 8, 2012.  Today, on International Women’s Day, the Center for American Progress released two pieces reiterating the underestimated impact and barriers still faced by women worldwide and in the United States, particularly women of color.

The impact of women’s entrepreneurship on the global economy cannot be underestimated. In 2010, 104 million women in 59 of the world’s economies started and managed new business ventures, generating millions of jobs and contributing substantially to their domestic, as well as the world’s, gross domestic product. Around the world when women start businesses, the ripple effects are tremendous—they create jobs for others, build up household income, and invest accumulated savings back into the community in the form of health care, education, and food. But there are still barriers to their economic empowerment. Given that women of color represent the fastest-growing segment of the women-owned business market here at home, we must figure out a way to unleash their economic potential.

CAP President Neera Tanden said at an event focused on women in the workforce:

… We know that when women have a chance to work as full and equal partners—economies prosper. And we know that when women are able to have their voices heard and be active participants in the social and political lives of their nations—they can be a tremendous force for progressive change. International Women’s Day is just one part of an ongoing dialogue here at CAP about the changing role of women in society and the need for policies that respond accordingly. 

In paying tribute to women’s accomplishments we should also note the work that remains to be done in making sure that women do not suffer disproportionately due to their gender. Women are now incarcerated at nearly double the rate of men in this country, yet they receive little attention in criminal justice reform measures. The treatment of women in our criminal justice system, and the large-scale abandonment of children that it generates, are serious issues for all of us to contend with as we think about the role of women in today’s society. Read the top five facts about women in our criminal justice system here.

More CAP resources on International Women’s Day: