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Executive Summary for July 20th

In this week’s wrap of gender equality news: women’s empowerment legislation passes the U.S. House, the relationships between money lenders and domestic worker recruitment agencies, and a new all-women bank branch in India.

Published on July 20, 2018 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Women’s Empowerment Bill Passes U.S. House

A bipartisan bill dedicated to women’s economic empowerment has passed the House of Representatives in the United States. The Women’s Entrepreneurship & Economic Empowerment Act (HR5480) is designed to improve USAID programs dedicated to women’s rights, with a focus on property rights, financial inclusion and entrepreneurship. The bill will now proceed to the Senate.

Gender equality advocates have welcomed the bill’s passage in the House, though Human Rights Watch notes that it does not contain language on family planning.

News Links Discovered Between Money Lenders and Recruitment Agencies in Hong Kong

Nearly half of Hong Kong’s recruitment agencies for domestic workers share premises with money lenders or other agencies, analysis from a group of researchers and the South China Morning Post has revealed. Researchers and students from the University of Hong Kong and Stanford University have created a tool that maps relationships between money lenders and recruiters, and found that 675 of the 1,448 agencies dedicated to employing domestic workers share a building with other agencies or lenders.

While sharing a floor or an address with another agency or a lender is not proof of wrongdoing, the researchers say it can be a warning sign for potential exploitation. Domestic workers in Hong Kong are often charged excessive and illegal recruitment fees by agencies, for which they can be required to take out high-interest loans: often provided by money lenders.

All-Women Bank Branch Opens in NORTHERN India

A bank branch catering solely to women has been opened in the northern Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The branch, which employs 13 women agents, also launched a series of pink-themed products designed to cater to women customers.

Women’s banking services are big in India, where all-women branches and banks have been set up in recent years to increase rates of financial inclusion. In India, 23 percent of women don’t have access to a bank account compared to 17 percent of men.

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