[Congressional Record Volume 164, Number 120 (Tuesday, July 17, 2018)]
[House]
[Pages H6333-H6337]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




     WOMEN'S ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT ACT OF 2018

  Mr. ROYCE of California. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and 
pass the bill (H.R. 5480) to improve programs and activities relating 
to women's entrepreneurship and economic empowerment that are carried 
out by the United States Agency for International Development, and for 
other purposes, as amended.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The text of the bill is as follows:

                               H.R. 5480

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,

     SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

       This Act may be cited as the ``Women's Entrepreneurship and 
     Economic Empowerment Act of 2018''.

     SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

       Congress finds the following:
       (1) Because women make up the majority of the world's poor 
     and gender inequalities prevail in incomes, wages, access to 
     finance, ownership of assets, and control over the allocation 
     of resources, women's entrepreneurship and economic 
     empowerment is important to achieve inclusive economic growth 
     at all levels of society. Research shows that when women 
     exert greater influence over household finances, economic 
     outcomes for families improve, and childhood survival rates, 
     food security, and educational attainment increase. Women 
     also tend to place a greater emphasis on household savings 
     which improves families' financial resiliency.
       (2) A 2016 report by the McKinsey Global Institute 
     estimated that achieving global gender parity in economic 
     activity could add as much as $28 trillion to annual global 
     gross domestic product (GDP) by 2025.
       (3) Lack of access to financial services that address 
     gender-specific constraints impedes women's economic 
     inclusion. More than one billion women around the world are 
     currently left out of the formal financial system, which in 
     turn causes many women to rely on informal means of saving 
     and borrowing that are riskier and less reliable. Among other 
     consequences, this hampers the success of women 
     entrepreneurs, including those seeking to run or grow small 
     and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The International 
     Finance Corporation has estimated that 70 percent of women-
     owned SMEs in the formal sector are unserved or underserved 
     in terms of access to credit, amounting to a $285 billion 
     credit gap.
       (4) Women's economic empowerment is inextricably linked to 
     a myriad of other women's human rights that are essential to 
     their ability to thrive as economic actors across the 
     lifecycle. This includes, but is not limited to, living lives 
     free of violence and exploitation, achieving the highest 
     possible standard of health and well-being, enjoying full 
     legal and human rights such as access to registration, 
     identification, and citizenship documents, benefitting from 
     formal and informal education, and equal protection of and 
     access to land and property rights, access to fundamental 
     labor rights, policies to address disproportionate care 
     burdens, and business and management skills and leadership 
     opportunities.
       (5) Discriminatory legal and regulatory systems and banking 
     practices are hurdles to women's access to capital and 
     assets, including land, machinery, production facilities, 
     technology, and human resources. Often, these barriers are 
     connected to a woman's marital status, which can determine 
     whether she is able to inherit land or own property in her 
     name. These constraints contribute to women frequently 
     running smaller businesses, with fewer employees and lower 
     asset values.
       (6) Savings groups primarily comprised of women are 
     recognized as a vital entry point, especially for poor and 
     very poor women, to formal financial services and there is a 
     high demand for such groups to protect and grow their savings 
     with formal financial institutions. Evidence shows that, once 
     linked to a bank, the average savings per member increases 
     between 40 to 100 percent and the average profit per member 
     doubles. Key to these outcomes is investing in financial 
     literacy, business leadership training, and mentorship.
       (7) United States support for microenterprise and 
     microfinance development programs, which seek to reduce 
     poverty in low-income countries by giving small loans to 
     small-scale entrepreneurs without collateral, have been a 
     useful mechanism to help families weather economic shocks, 
     but many microcredit borrowers largely remain in poverty. The 
     vast majority of microcredit borrowers are women who would 
     like to move up the economic ladder but are held back by 
     binding constraints that create a ``missing middle''-large 
     numbers of microenterprises, a handful of large firms or 
     conglomerates, and very few SMEs in between, which are 
     critical to driving economic growth in developing countries.
       (8) According to the World Bank, SMEs create 4 out of 5 new 
     positions in emerging markets but about half of formal SMEs 
     don't have access to formal credit. The financing gap is even 
     larger when micro and informal enterprises are taken into 
     account. Overall, approximately 70 percent of all micro, 
     small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in emerging 
     markets lack access to credit.

     SEC. 3. ACTIONS TO IMPROVE GENDER POLICIES OF THE UNITED 
                   STATES AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT.

       (a) Development Cooperation Policy.--It shall be the 
     development cooperation policy of the United States--
       (1) to reduce gender disparities in access to, control 
     over, and benefit from economic, social, political, and 
     cultural resources, wealth, opportunities, and services;
       (2) to strive to eliminate gender-based violence and 
     mitigate its harmful effects on individuals and communities 
     through efforts to develop standards and capacity to reduce 
     gender-based violence in the workplace and other places where 
     women conduct work;
       (3) to support activities that secure private property 
     rights and land tenure for women in developing countries, 
     including legal frameworks to give women equal rights to own, 
     register, use, profit from, and inherit land and property, 
     legal literacy to exercise these rights, and capacity of law 
     enforcement and community leaders to enforce such rights; and
       (4) to increase the capability of women and girls to 
     realize their rights, determine their life outcomes, assume 
     leadership roles, and influence decision-making in 
     households, communities, and societies.
       (b) Actions.--In order to advance the policy described in 
     subsection (a), the Administrator of the United States Agency 
     for International Development shall ensure that--
       (1) strategies, projects, and activities of the Agency are 
     shaped by a gender analysis and, when applicable, use 
     standard indicators to provide one measure of success of such 
     strategies, projects, and activities; and
       (2) gender equality and female empowerment is integrated 
     throughout the Agency's Program Cycle and related processes 
     for purposes of strategic planning, project design and 
     implementation, and monitoring and evaluation.
       (c) Gender Analysis Defined.--In this section, the term 
     ``gender analysis''--
       (1) means a socio-economic analysis of available or 
     gathered quantitative and qualitative information to 
     identify, understand, and explain gaps between men and women 
     which typically involves examining--
       (A) differences in the status of women and men and their 
     differential access to and control over assets, resources, 
     opportunities, and services;
       (B) the influence of gender roles, structural barriers, and 
     norms on the division of time between paid employment, unpaid 
     work (including subsistence production and care for family 
     members), and volunteer activities;
       (C) the influence of gender roles, structural barriers, and 
     norms on leadership roles and decision making; constraints, 
     opportunities, and entry points for narrowing gender gaps and 
     empowering women; and
       (D) potential differential impacts of development policies 
     and programs on men and women, including unintended or 
     negative consequences; and
       (2) includes conclusions and recommendations to enable 
     development policies and programs to narrow gender gaps and 
     improve the lives of women and girls.

     SEC. 4. DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE FOR MICRO, SMALL AND MEDIUM-
                   SIZED ENTERPRISES.

       (a) Findings and Policy.--Section 251 of the Foreign 
     Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2211) is amended--
       (1) in paragraph (1)--
       (A) by striking ``microenterprise'' and inserting ``micro, 
     small and medium-sized enterprise'';
       (B) by striking ``and in the development'' and inserting 
     ``, in the development''; and
       (C) by adding at the end before the period the following: 
     ``, and in the economic empowerment of the poor, especially 
     women'';
       (2) in paragraph (2)--
       (A) by striking ``microenterprise'' and inserting ``micro, 
     small and medium-sized enterprise''; and
       (B) by adding at the end before the period the following: 
     ``, particularly those enterprises owned, managed, and 
     controlled by women'';
       (3) in paragraph (3), by striking ``microenterprises'' and 
     inserting ``micro, small and medium-sized enterprises'';
       (4) in paragraph (4), by striking ``microenterprise'' and 
     inserting ``micro, small and medium-sized enterprise'';
       (5) in paragraph (5)--
       (A) by striking ``should continue'' and inserting ``should 
     continue and be expanded''; and

[[Page H6334]]

       (B) by striking ``microenterprise and microfinance 
     development assistance'' and inserting ``development 
     assistance for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises''; 
     and
       (6) in paragraph (6)--
       (A) by striking ``have been successful'' and inserting 
     ``have had some success'';
       (B) by striking ``microenterprise programs'' and inserting 
     ``development assistance for micro, small and medium-sized 
     enterprises''; and
       (C) by striking ``, such as countries in Latin America''.
       (b) Authorization; Implementation; Targeted Assistance.--
     Section 252 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 
     2211a) is amended as follows:
       (1) In subsection (a)--
       (A) in the matter preceding paragraph (1)--
       (i) by striking ``credit, savings, and other services'' and 
     inserting ``credit, including the use of innovative credit 
     scoring models, savings, financial technology, financial 
     literacy, insurance, property rights, and other services''; 
     and
       (ii) by striking ``microfinance and microenterprise 
     clients'' and inserting ``micro, small and medium-sized 
     enterprise clients'';
       (B) in paragraph (1), by striking ``microfinance and 
     microenterprise clients'' and inserting ``micro, small and 
     medium-sized enterprise clients, particularly those clients 
     owned, managed, and controlled by women'';
       (C) in paragraph (2)--
       (i) by striking ``microenterprises'' and inserting ``micro, 
     small and medium-sized enterprises''; and
       (ii) by inserting ``acquire United States goods and 
     services,'' after ``United States markets,'';
       (D) in paragraph (3)--
       (i) by striking ``microfinance and microenterprise 
     institutions'' and inserting ``financial intermediaries'';
       (ii) by striking ``microfinance and microenterprise 
     clients'' and inserting ``micro, small and medium-sized 
     enterprises''; and
       (iii) by striking ``and'' at the end;
       (E) in paragraph (4)--
       (i) by striking ``microfinance and microenterprise clients 
     and institutions'' and inserting ``micro, small and medium-
     sized enterprises, financial intermediaries, and capital 
     markets''; and
       (ii) by striking ``the poor and very poor.'' and inserting 
     ``the poor and very poor, especially women;''; and
       (F) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(5) assistance for the purpose of promoting the economic 
     empowerment of women, including through increased access to 
     financial resources and improving property rights, 
     inheritance rights, and other legal protections; and
       ``(6) assistance for the purpose of scaling up evidence-
     based graduation approaches, which include targeting the very 
     poor and households in ultra-poverty, consumption support, 
     promotion of savings, skills training, and asset 
     transfers.''.
       (2) In subsection (b)--
       (A) in paragraph (1) to read as follows:
       ``(1) In general.--There is authorized to be established 
     within the Agency an office to support the Agency's efforts 
     to broaden and deepen local financial markets, expand access 
     to appropriate financial products and services, and support 
     the development of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. 
     The Office shall be headed by a Director who shall possess 
     technical expertise and ability to offer leadership in the 
     field of financial sector development.'';
       (B) in paragraph (2)--
       (i) in subparagraph (B)--

       (I) by striking ``Use of central funding mechanisms.--'' 
     and all that follows through ``In order to ensure'' and 
     inserting ``Use of central funding mechanisms.--In order to 
     ensure'';
       (II) by striking ``the office shall'' and all that follows 
     through ``and other practitioners'' and inserting ``the 
     office shall provide coordination and support for field-
     implemented programs, including through targeted core support 
     for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and local 
     financial markets''; and
       (III) by striking clause (ii);

       (ii) in subparagraph (C)--

       (I) by inserting ``, particularly by protecting the use and 
     funding of local organizations in countries in which the 
     Agency invests,'' after ``and sustainability''; and
       (II) by inserting ``, especially women'' after ``the poor 
     and very poor''; and

       (C) by striking paragraph (3).
       (3) In subsection (c)--
       (A) by striking ``all microenterprise resources'' and 
     inserting ``all micro, small and medium-sized enterprise 
     resources''; and
       (B) by striking ``clients who are very poor.'' and all that 
     follows and inserting ``activities that reach the very poor, 
     and 50 percent of all small and medium-sized enterprise 
     resources shall be targeted to activities that reach 
     enterprises owned, managed, and controlled by women.''.
       (c) Monitoring System.--Section 253(b) of the Foreign 
     Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2211b(b)) is amended--
       (1) in paragraph (1), by inserting ``, including goals on a 
     gender disaggregated basis, such as improvements in 
     employment, access to financial services, enterprise 
     development, earnings and control over income, and property 
     and land rights,'' after ``performance goals'';
       (2) in paragraph (2), by striking ``include performance 
     indicators'' and all that follows through ``the achievement'' 
     and inserting ``incorporate Agency planning and reporting 
     processes and indicators to measure or assess the 
     achievement''; and
       (3) by striking paragraph (4).
       (d) Poverty Measurement Methods.--Section 254 of the 
     Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2211c) is amended 
     to read as follows:

     ``SEC. 254. POVERTY MEASUREMENT METHODS.

       ``The Administrator of the Agency, in consultation with 
     financial intermediaries and other appropriate organizations, 
     should have in place at least one method for implementing 
     partners to use to assess poverty levels of their current 
     incoming or prospective clients.''.
       (e) Additional Authorities.--Section 255 of the Foreign 
     Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2211d) is amended--
       (1) by striking ``assistance for microenterprise 
     development assistance'' and inserting ``development 
     assistance for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises''; 
     and
       (2) by striking ``and, to the extent applicable'' and all 
     that follows and inserting a period.
       (f) Microenterprise Development Credits.--Section 256 of 
     the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2212) is 
     amended--
       (1) in the section heading, by striking ``microenterprise 
     development credits'' and inserting ``development credits for 
     micro, small and medium-sized enterprises'';
       (2) in subsection (a)--
       (A) in paragraph (1), by striking ``micro- and small 
     enterprises'' and inserting ``micro, small and medium-sized 
     enterprises''; and
       (B) in paragraph (2), by striking ``microenterprises'' and 
     inserting ``micro, small and medium-sized enterprises'';
       (3) in subsection (b), in the matter preceding paragraph 
     (1), by inserting ``and other financial services'' after 
     ``credit'';
       (4) by striking ``microenterprise households'' each place 
     it appears and inserting ``micro, small and medium-sized 
     enterprises and households''; and
       (5) by striking ``microfinance institutions'' each place it 
     appears and inserting ``financial intermediaries''.
       (g) United States Microfinance Loan Facility.--Section 257 
     of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2213) is 
     amended--
       (1) in subsection (a), by striking ``United States-
     supported microfinance institutions'' and inserting ``United 
     States-supported financial intermediaries''; and
       (2) in subsection (b)--
       (A) by striking ``United States-supported microfinance 
     institutions'' each place it appears and inserting ``United 
     States-supported financial intermediaries''; and
       (B) in paragraph (2), by striking ``microfinance 
     institutions'' and inserting ``financial intermediaries''.
       (h) Contents of Report.--Subsection (b) of section 258 of 
     the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2214) is 
     amended to read as follows:
       ``(b) Contents.--To the extent practicable, the report 
     should contain the following:
       ``(1) Information about assistance provided under section 
     252, including--
       ``(A) the amount of each grant or other form of assistance;
       ``(B) the name and type of each intermediary and 
     implementing partner organization receiving assistance;
       ``(C) the name of each country receiving assistance; and
       ``(D) the methodology used to ensure compliance with the 
     targeted assistance requirements in subsection (c) of such 
     section.
       ``(2) The percentage of assistance provided under section 
     252 disaggregated by income level, including for the very 
     poor, and gender.
       ``(3) The estimated number of individuals that received 
     assistance provided under section 252 disaggregated by income 
     level, including for the very poor, and gender, and by type 
     of assistance, including loans, training, and business 
     development services.
       ``(4) The results of the monitoring system required under 
     section 253.
       ``(5) Information about any method in place to assess 
     poverty levels under section 254.''.
       (i) Definitions.--Section 259 of the Foreign Assistance Act 
     of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2214a) is amended--
       (1) in paragraph (3), by striking ``Committee on 
     International Relations'' and inserting ``Committee on 
     Foreign Affairs'';
       (2) in paragraph (4), by striking ``microenterprises'' and 
     inserting ``micro, small and medium-sized enterprises'';
       (3) in paragraph (6)--
       (A) in subparagraph (E), by striking ``microenterprise 
     institution'' and inserting ``micro, small and medium-sized 
     enterprise institution''; and
       (B) in subparagraph (F), by striking ``microfinance 
     institution'' and inserting ``financial intermediary'';
       (4) in paragraph (7) to read as follows:
       ``(7) Micro, small and medium-sized enterprise 
     institution.--The term `micro, small and medium-sized 
     enterprise institution' means an entity that provides 
     services, including finance, training, or business 
     development services, for micro, small and medium-sized 
     enterprises in foreign countries.'';
       (5) in paragraph (8) to read as follows:
       ``(8) Financial intermediary.--The term `financial 
     intermediary' means the entity that acts as the intermediary 
     between parties in a financial transaction, such as a bank, 
     credit union, investment fund, a village savings and loan 
     group, or an institution that provides financial services to 
     a micro, small or medium-sized enterprise.'';
       (6) by striking paragraph (9);

[[Page H6335]]

       (7) by redesignating paragraphs (10) through (14) as 
     paragraphs (9) through (13), respectively;
       (8) in paragraph (9) (as redesignated), by striking ``of 
     microenterprise development'';
       (9) in paragraph (10) to read as follows:
       ``(10) Practitioner institution.--The term `practitioner 
     institution' means a not-for-profit entity, financial 
     intermediary, information and communications technology firm 
     with a mobile money platform, a village and savings loan 
     group, or any other entity that provides financial or 
     business development services authorized under section 252 
     that benefits micro, small and medium-sized enterprise 
     clients.'';
       (10) in paragraph (12) (as redesignated)--
       (A) in the heading, by striking ``united states-supported 
     microfinance institution'' and inserting ``united states-
     supported financial intermediary''; and
       (B) by striking ``United States-supported microfinance 
     institution'' and inserting ``United States-supported 
     financial intermediary'';
       (11) in subparagraph (B) of paragraph (13) (as 
     redesignated) to read as follows:
       ``(B) living below the International Poverty Line, as 
     defined by the International Bank for Reconstruction and 
     Development and the International Development Association 
     (collectively referred to as the `World Bank').''.
       (j) Technical and Conforming Amendment.--Title VI of 
     chapter 2 of part I of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 is 
     amended in the title heading by striking ``MICROENTERPRISE 
     DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE'' and inserting ``DEVELOPMENT 
     ASSISTANCE FOR MICRO, SMALL AND MEDIUM-SIZED ENTERPRISES''.

     SEC. 5. REPORT AND BRIEFING BY UNITED STATES AGENCY FOR 
                   INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT.

       (a) In General.--Not later than one year after the date of 
     the enactment of this Act, the Administrator of the United 
     States Agency for International Development shall provide a 
     briefing and submit to the Committee on Foreign Affairs of 
     the House of Representatives and the Committee on Foreign 
     Relations of the Senate a report on the implementation of 
     this Act and the amendments made by this Act, including 
     actions to improve the gender policies of the United States 
     Agency for International Development pursuant to section 3.
       (b) Public Availability.--The report required under 
     paragraph (1) shall be posted and made available on a text-
     based, searchable, and publicly-available internet website.

     SEC. 6. REPORT BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES.

       (a) In General.--Not later than two years after the date of 
     the enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General of the 
     United States shall submit to the Committee on Foreign 
     Affairs of the House of Representatives and the Committee on 
     Foreign Relations of the Senate a report on development 
     assistance for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises 
     administered by the United States Agency for International 
     Development.
       (b) Matters to Be Included.--The report required under 
     subsection (a) shall include an assessment of the following:
       (1) What is known about the impact of such development 
     assistance on the economies of developing countries.
       (2) The extent to which such development assistance is 
     targeting women and the very poor, including what is known 
     about how such development assistance benefits women.
       (3) The extent to which the United States Agency for 
     International Development has developed a methodology used to 
     ensure compliance with the targeted assistance requirement in 
     section 252(c) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as 
     amended by section 4 of this Act, and the quality of such 
     methodology.
       (4) The monitoring system required in section 253(b) of the 
     Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended by section 4 of 
     this Act, including the quality of such monitoring system.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from 
California (Mr. Royce) and the gentleman from California (Mr. Sherman) 
each will control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from California (Mr. Royce).


                             General Leave

  Mr. ROYCE of California. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that 
all Members have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks 
and to include any extraneous material in the record.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from California.
  There was no objection.
  Mr. ROYCE of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I 
may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I am the author of this measure. It is the Women's 
Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment Act, and I want to thank 
those members on the staff that worked on this measure: Amy Porter, 
Joan Condon, Jessica Kelch, and Emily Cottle, and I thank them because 
around the globe, women make up the majority of the world's poor. This 
is due, in part, to gender constraints that in some places deny women 
access to basic financial services, like savings accounts.
  Today, more than 1 billion women remain left outside of the formal 
financial system, and women-owned, small-and medium-sized enterprises 
face a $300 billion credit gap. A 2014 analysis found that closing the 
gender gap and access to credit for small- and medium-sized women-owned 
businesses would increase per capita GDP by 12 percent in developing 
countries. That is because when women exercise greater influence over 
finances, literally, everyone benefits.
  Childhood survival rates, food security, children's education, 
economic opportunity for families, all of that increases. Investment in 
women yields results for entire communities. Indeed, countries with 
high female labor force participation rates are more resilient to 
economic shocks and suffer fewer slowdowns in economic growth.
  A 2016 report estimated that achieving global gender parity in 
economic activity by 2025 would add as much as $28 trillion to annual 
GDP, an amount equal to the combined economies of the United States and 
China.
  Confronting the barriers that keep women from being able to fully 
participate in their local markets is key to generating sustainable, 
economic growth. And this means not only expanding women's access to 
the financial system, but also, as cell phones become more and more 
available, expanding their access to new financial technology like 
mobile money.
  The Women's Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment Act addresses 
barriers to women's economic inclusion in developing countries by 
requiring that all USAID strategies and projects and activities be 
shaped by a gender analysis and by expanding the agency's 
microenterprise assistance authorities to support small-and medium-
sized women-owned businesses. This is critical as small- and medium-
sized enterprises create four out of five new jobs in developing 
economies.
  So the bill is the result of the committee's extended focus on 
empowering women and girls through U.S. foreign policy, which has been 
the subject of five full committee hearings and other subcommittee 
hearings in recent Congresses. Our women's empowerment initiative has 
produced significant legislation including: the Girls Count Act of 
2015, the Protecting Girls' Access to Education in Vulnerable Settings 
Act, and the Women, Peace, and Security Act of 2017, among others.
  Mr. Speaker, I believe that we should invest our limited foreign 
assistance dollars wisely, and I have seen the good things that happen 
when we focus on empowering women. That is what this bill does, and I 
ask for my colleagues' support in helping to make it happen.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. SHERMAN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this measure, H.R. 5480, the 
Women's Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment Act. I want to thank 
Mr. Royce and Ms. Lois Frankel for their work on this bill.
  This is an important bill that expands U.S. development policy to 
empower women entrepreneurs in developing countries. In 2016, the 
McKinsey Global Institute estimated that achieving global gender parity 
in economic activity could add as much as $28 trillion to the annual 
gross domestic product by the year 2025.
  This bill will help unlock the productive power of women, and 
particularly women-owned small- and medium-sized enterprises. In the 
interest of time, I won't go into the details because we have excellent 
speakers on both sides of the aisle.
  Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to support this bill, which passed our 
committee by a unanimous bipartisan voice vote, and I urge my 
colleagues to do the same. I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. ROYCE of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield the balance of my time 
to the gentlewoman from Florida (Ms. Ros-Lehtinen), chairwoman emeritus 
on the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and I ask unanimous consent that 
she may control that time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from California?
  There was no objection.
  Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I thank Chairman Royce for introducing

[[Page H6336]]

this important bipartisan measure before us today, and of course, 
congratulate both him and Ranking Member Engel, who work so well in 
bringing important legislation in a bipartisan manner to the floor 
every day.
  This is H.R. 5480, the Women's Entrepreneurship and Economic 
Empowerment Act, and I am a proud cosponsor of this bipartisan measure. 
We know that when women work, and the number of women in the workforce 
is increasing, there is a corresponding growth in economies.
  The benefit that results from empowering women and expanding their 
economic activities are far reaching. They have a great society impact. 
From the household to communities, to local, State, and the Federal 
level, we would see drastic improvements if women not only had greater 
access, but greater influence over income and finances.
  Yet, sadly, women continue to face seemingly insurmountable barriers 
that deter them from becoming full and equal members of society, 
particularly when it comes to access to formal financial institutions, 
and that is what this bill would do. It updates and expands USAID 
policies with respect to microenterprise assistance authority, to chip 
away at those barriers that exist now. It will also include support for 
small- and medium-sized enterprises. These are the real drivers of 
employment in so many places around the globe.
  Also, it would provide women with greater access to economic 
activities. It will improve the working environment for women and 
support their property rights. It is a commonsense approach, Mr. 
Speaker. By increasing women's participation in the workforce around 
the world, we will be creating greater economic benefits with positive 
implications for all aspects of society.
  Mr. Speaker, I fully support Mr. Royce's measure. I urge my 
colleagues to do the same, and I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. SHERMAN. Mr. Speaker, I yield 4 minutes to the gentlewoman from 
Florida (Ms. Frankel), the lead Democratic sponsor of this bill.
  Ms. FRANKEL of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for 
yielding.
  Mr. Speaker, keeping peace in the world, reducing terrorism, creating 
safe environments where countries can be self-reliant and people can be 
prosperous is not just about more guns and bombs.
  Addressing the root causes of global upheaval is an important task. 
It is an important task of USAID that calls itself the world's premier 
development agency, which leads me to thank Mr. Royce and Ranking 
Member Engel for their bipartisan leadership and for the other 
cosponsors of this legislation for this very important bill that we 
call the Women's Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment Act, which 
recognizes that when girls and women of the world are free from 
violence, educated, and have access to tools for economic success, 
their communities are more safe, more economically vibrant, and more 
peaceful.
  This is, of course, when women exert greater influence over household 
finances, economic outcomes for their families improve. The childhood 
survival rates go up, food security, and educational attainment 
increases for their children. Women actually place a greater emphasis 
on household savings, which improves a family's financial resiliency.
  Mr. Speaker, it is hard to comprehend the hardships and obstacles 
that women face globally. I think of a girl like Fatim, born in Mali. 
At just 8 months old, she was subjected to genital mutilation. By age 
12, her father sold her for marriage to a man she had never met. She is 
among the one in three girls worldwide who will suffer gender-based 
violence.
  I think of Nasha, a young Nigerian, desperate for an education, who 
walks miles, fearful of sexual violence or kidnapping just to get to 
class. She doesn't want to become one of the 130 million girls 
worldwide who are out of school; or Kamila, a woman in Pakistan who 
dreams of starting her own business and being able to care for her 
family, but discriminatory laws prevent her from owning property or 
accessing credit.
  She is among the 1 billion women in the world excluded from the 
formal financial system. Given all of the roadblocks, it is not 
surprising that women and girls are the majority of the world's poor.
  Here is the thing: Many of these cruel and unfair practices make the 
world poorer, too, as we have heard from my colleagues. According to 
the McKinsey Global Institute, a leading international private sector 
think tank, if we change this equation and we advance women's equality, 
we could add trillions to the global GDP in just years.
  We are recognizing today that there is an undeniable link between 
women's economic success and global prosperity and peacefulness and 
security.
  Now, this bill has several components. It makes it USAID policy to do 
the following: to reduce gender gaps in economic opportunity; to strive 
to eliminate gender-based violence; to support women's property rights; 
and to increase the capability of women and girls to determine their 
own future.

                              {time}  1745

  Next, the bill requires that 50 percent of USAID's resources for 
small- and medium-sized enterprises be targeted to reach enterprises 
owned, managed, and controlled by women. It codifies USAID's practice 
of shaping policy and activities through a gender analysis.
  As important, to ensure that our development assistance is reaching 
women, this legislation mandates that USAID track and measure 
improvements in women's economic empowerment, including employment, 
access to financial services, enterprise development, earnings and 
control over income, and property and land rights.
  Finally, this legislation also expands the scope of development 
assistance from microenterprises to small-and medium-sized enterprises 
to reflect changes in the field.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentlewoman has expired.
  Mr. SHERMAN. Mr. Speaker, I yield the gentlewoman an additional 1 
minute.
  Ms. FRANKEL of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleagues for 
joining me in support of this critical bill. Again, it is not about 
bombs, military, and guns. Remember this: when women succeed, when 
girls succeed, their nations succeed.
  Mr. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. SHERMAN. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentlewoman from 
Nevada (Ms. Titus).
  Ms. TITUS. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the gentleman for yielding.
  I thank Chairman Royce and Ranking Member Engel for bringing this 
legislation, but especially my colleague, Congresswoman Frankel, for 
being such a champion for women's rights and issues not only in this 
country, but around the globe.
  I am proud to be a cosponsor of this bill, the Women's 
Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment Act, which, as you have heard 
by those more eloquent than I, will help to ensure that women's 
economic development is a fundamental tenet of U.S. development policy.
  Women tend to spend more of their money on family costs like 
education and healthcare than men do. Unfortunately, they lack access 
to financial services and must rely on riskier and less reliable means 
of borrowing and saving.
  If global gender parity in economic activity were achieved, we could 
add as much as $28 trillion to the annual global GDP. That should be 
incentive enough for us to work to ensure that our government 
understands and has the capabilities to meet the unique economic needs 
of women, particularly since women represent more than half the world's 
population and a majority of the world's poor.
  Now, in addition to serving on the Foreign Affairs Committee, I am 
proud to be the co-chair of the Congressional Mongolian Caucus. We are 
working with the Mongolian Government to support the cashmere 
production industry to diversify its mining-dependent economy. Notably, 
an average of 90 percent of the workers in the Mongolian textile sector 
are female. So if we work to ensure that these women in the cashmere 
industry have the support, resources, and financial literacy to 
prosper, we will not only be boosting individual women, we will be 
boosting an entire economy and will be boosting Mongolia overall.

[[Page H6337]]

  This is just one example where uplifting women can benefit an entire 
industry, a society, and a national prosperity, which, in turn, fosters 
democratic stability. As Lois has said, when women succeed, the world 
succeeds, so I urge my colleagues to support this legislation.
  Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. I continue to reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. SHERMAN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time.
  Mr. Speaker, in closing, I invite my colleagues to join me in 
supporting this bill.
  Women and girls around the world must be included in and empowered by 
ongoing U.S. investments in diplomacy, development, and security. The 
Women's Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment Act requires USAID to 
address gender-specific challenges across the world, and it expands 
support for small- and medium-sized enterprises that are owned, 
managed, and controlled by women. It also explicitly establishes that 
it is our national policy to support the empowerment of women 
worldwide.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge support of this bill, which passed our committee 
by unanimous, bipartisan voice vote, and I yield back the balance of my 
time.
  Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time.
  Mr. Speaker, I thank Chairman Royce and my friend from Florida, 
Congresswoman Frankel, for bringing forward this important bipartisan 
bill.
  All countries of the world stand to benefit from the increased 
participation of women in their economies and in their societies at 
large.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge all Members to vote ``aye,'' and I yield back the 
balance of my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the 
gentleman from California (Mr. Royce) that the House suspend the rules 
and pass the bill, H.R. 5480, as amended.
  The question was taken; and (two-thirds being in the affirmative) the 
rules were suspended and the bill, as amended, was passed.
  A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.

                          ____________________