Inspiring Financial Empowerment of Women

Filed in Education by on October 21, 2011 8 Comments

I hear it everywhere I go, from family and friends to colleagues and neighbors: The empowerment and development of women and girls can positively improve the economic prosperity of millions of women, American families and our economy.

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to be part of a great women’s empowerment effort in my native home, New York City. I took part in the first annual “Women’s Economic Empowerment Summit” hosted by U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in coordination with New York University on Monday.

(L-R) WABC News Anchor Diana Williams; Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama, Valerie Jarrett; U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand; Women’s Bureau Director, Sara Manzano-Díaz. Photo credit: Abdul Smith

The summit brought together over 500 women that ranged from experienced business owners to recent college graduates.  This forum gave these women the opportunity to build skills and engage in discussions with some of the nation’s leading women on the opportunities and challenges that women face in achieving financial security. The audience learned how the American Jobs Act can assist in improving their economic outlook while creating long-term growth and prosperity.

The “Women’s Economic Empowerment Summit” brought together panelists and speakers from The White House Project, Chamber of Commerce, Glamour magazine, The Today Show, and many others to share insights on how women can strengthen their economic futures. The goal was to examine the economic barriers women face on a daily basis and to inspire a new generation to lead in America’s economic recovery.

Valerie Jarrett, White House Senior Advisor, inspired the audience during a keynote discussion with WABC anchor Diana Williams.  She helped us all understand what we need to do to succeed as leaders for generations to come and urged women to take risks. Jarrett told the audience that women should not be afraid to ask for what they want or need. I couldn’t agree more!

Women represent a growing share of today’s workforce.  They are entrepreneurs, innovators, and leaders in government and industry. At nearly 50 % of the labor force, women are in the position to drive our 21st century economy. Yet, we are still confronted with serious challenges such as the gender wage gap, underrepresentation at high levels of management and lower participation rates in  the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

Improving opportunities for women and ensuring that they are prepared to compete in the rapidly changing global economy is an important part of the mission of the Department of Labor Women’s Bureau. In keeping with that commitment, the Women’s Bureau will continue to shatter ceilings, open doors, and build bridges for generations to come.  

Learn more about what we are doing at the Women’s Bureau and its priorities by visiting our Website at

Sara Manzano-Díaz is Director of the U. S. Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau.

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Comments (8)

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  1. RIFT SUCCESS says:

    Terrific article! Womentrepreneurs are a tremendous driving force in today’s economy. We’re based in New York and it’s a breath of fresh air to know that our state and our state departments are actively involved in support of women entrepreneurs. As more opportunities open up, more women will be coming forward to inspire change, business, and innovation.

  2. Tom Mulkern says:

    Although having read the titile and some of the blog (Empowerment–etc.), which at first might not seem to so dorectly relate to my comment (which has a basis of leaving a note that I feel generally a very serious issue has been left unaddressed in our nations workplace) I feel its close enough to leave my comment and some more directly related to the title. So to start, mine is more sabout labor in general and that I feel temporary agencies widespread are abusing employees, constantly hiring and firing, hiring and firing to get out of paying helath insurance, cqausing such displaced employees monetary damage as well as reputation damage. At first might sound a bit far-fetched? Speaking from one who has labored many long hard shifts in now basically all minority (Hispanic low wagers who it seems don’t mind the hiring -firing process) low wage, unskilled positions , I would go as far as to call it a widespread, “Scroogly ” epedemic to rival early industrial ers Britiain of the 19th century. My comment is I feel a bit more descriptive than a general claim of corruption and I feel with some investigation such a “widespread” problem if you will could aqt least be more exposed, especially with the numerous temporary agencies which I feel are abusing the abundant numbers of unemployed people (especially minority) who are willing to take these short term jobs although told it will be better, then fired because of a croogly hording an inhumane rtreatment of these people. To be more on track about female empowerment, I’ll say I’m all for ita nd although you think it doesnt realte in any way to my overall comment, youd be surprised, if I had more time I’d go into more detail but suffice it to say, although its 2011 10,00 B.C. wasnt that different, women are probably still considered by most to be inferior to the male, the jungle now is not chasing animals with sticks but were still just as primitive in the “workplace” and it truly is still an uncivilized wild out there. Maybe women empowerment may be a good thing.

  3. This is an excellent article! With a struggling economy it is harder for everyone. For women to be able to come together and network will result in many success stories. The new graduates will especially benefit from this, to learn from those who paved the way.

  4. Douglas Schaff says:

    In the past I said that our greatest export was ‘Women’s Rights.”
    Thanks to this article and Senator Gillibrand’s first annual “Women’s Economic Empowerment Summit,” at NYU, I understand that Women’s financial empowerment is doing its share & more to Power our economy.

  5. Women’s economic empowerment can also be considered as an factor for measuring an country’s economic growth.

  6. Wonderful article! It is a great comfort to know that there are people working behind the scenes to improve opportunities for women in the global economy…

  7. Dorian says:

    Articles like this make me feel good, thank you very much

  8. Generally I do not learn article on blogs, but I wish to
    say that this write-up very pressured me to check out and do so!
    Your writing taste has been surprised me. Thank you, very
    nice article.

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