3 Reasons to Support the Women’s Entrepreneurship & Economic Empowerment Act 2018: My Personal Letter to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations

There is a bill under consideration to “improve programs and activities relating to women’s entrepreneurship and economic empowerment that are carried out by the U.S. Agency for International Development” in developing countries, the Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment Act of 2018 (H.R. 5480).

Why should you and I and our organizations advocate for the passage of this bill?

There are three reasons:

  1. Because we are humanitarians.
  2. For increased peace and security.
  3. And because if you, like me, are a female and lead a business, it’s important to advocate for other women just as others advocated for us and made our lives and businesses possible.

Let’s do this for women globally.

Read my letter of thanks and encouragement below to the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations to pass this bill. If you are inspired to write, and I hope you are, do it now.

We sent faxes using an online service, blended with the Senators’ online contact forms. Next steps will be heading to the Hill in person.

My Letter to the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations

November 10, 2018

The Honorable Bob Corker
U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
United States Senate
Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Bob Menendez
Ranking Member
U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
United States Senate
528 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Chairman Corker and Ranking Member Menendez:

As a U.S. citizen, a female entrepreneur and a global citizen, thank you for supporting the Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment Act of 2018 (H.R. 5480). There are three reasons, I strongly encourage you to pass this bill.

1. Because We Are Humanitarians

  • Over 126 million women and girls, the equivalent of 38 percent of the U.S. population, are “missing” globally1 killed by infanticide and abortion due to cultural preferences for males.
  • One in three women will experience gender-based violence (GBV)2.
  • Women and girls in developing countries receive less nutrition, health care and education than men and boys.

2. Increasing Peace and Security

  • The major causes of violent conflict include “political, economic, and social inequalities; extreme poverty; economic stagnation; poor government services; high unemployment; environmental degradation; and individual (economic) incentives to fight.”3 We know that “promoting inclusive development and reducing inequalities reduces the likelihood of war.”4 When women are empowered and prosper, it contributes to them, to their families, to communities and regions prospering. This contributes to increased stability, peace, new markets, trade and strengthens global value chains.

3. Because Advocates Like You Made My Life and Business Possible

  • I founded my leadership development consultancy, Leadership Hand LLC, 17 years ago. I’ve earned an M.B.A. I own a home and have credit. This week I voted. There are U.S. laws that give me rights. Challenges for women in the U.S. and around the world inspired me to write a book, Hidden by Gender, to help women level the playing field. People like you with the power to influence, who understand the importance of women both in and to society, made my life today possible. I’m grateful.
  • Because of my commitment to a more peaceful, prosperous world, I have shifted my consultancy’s focus from Fortune 500 and mid-size companies to include working with mission-driven, innovative leaders in the development sector focused on women, girls and peace.

Please pass this bill.

Your commitment in passing it, USAID’s, the development community’s and mine, will make a difference for women and girls, men and boys in developing countries. It will make a difference for a more peaceful, prosperous world for everyone. That’s a legacy with which we can all live.


Beth Hand
CEO |Strategic Advisor
Leadership Hand LLC
Alexandria, Va. 22302 USA

cc: Jim Risch
Marco Rubio
Ron Johnson
Jeff Flake
Cory Gardner
Todd Young
John Barrasso
Johnny Isakson
Rob Portman
Rand Paul
Ben Cardin
Jeanne Shaheen
Chris Coons
Tom Udall
Chris Murphy
Tim Kaine
Ed Markey
Jeff Merkley
Cory Booker

1 United Nations Population Fund: Gender-biased Sex Selection.
2 U.S. Department of State.
3 National Center for Biotechnology Information: Root causes of violent conflict in developing countries.
4 Ibid.

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