International aid organisation CARE Australia has welcomed the federal government’s commitment to women and girls’ empowerment in the Australian aid program, following the announcement of a new initiative to strengthen women’s trade opportunities in Asia-Pacific.
Australia’s Ambassador for Women and Girls, Natasha Stott Despoja, announced the initiative – which will strengthen trade promotion of women exporters across the region – during the APEC Women and the Economy Forum in Beijing on Thursday.
‘Access to economic opportunities increases a woman’s sense of pride, purpose and decision-making power. Initiatives such as this are to be commended, as they recognise the critical role women’s empowerment plays in the region’s economic development,’ said CARE Australia’s country programs manager Jenny Clement.
Ms Clement added that while the statement from Ambassador Stott Despoja was recognition of the value of investing in women’s economic development, it was being made on the back of a $7.6 billion cut – almost ten per cent – to Australia’s aid program over the coming five years.
‘While we welcome this demonstration of the Government’s commitment to women and girls, the reality of cuts to foreign aid means that fewer families living in extreme poverty will be able to see the benefit of initiatives such as this.’