Organization: Atlas Network
Country: United States of America
Project Name: Eradicate Barriers to Economic Freedom for Women
Although extensive data on economic freedom are available, much of it lacks on-the-ground expertise and the moral commitment to reforming discriminatory and oppressive policies that disproportionately affect women. Atlas aspires to change that by providing real-world examples that document how economic liberty empowers and elevates women by creating opportunity, growth, and prosperity. Their vision is to break down the legal obstacles that prevent women from equal rights and opportunities. Using their successful grant program Liberating Enterprise to Achieve Prosperity (LEAP) as a model, they're challenging their partners to (i) identify projects that would improve their country's rank on the Gender Disparity Index and other indices, (ii) create and implement reform strategies, and (iii) publicize non-governmental solutions that help reduce poverty among women.
In too many countries, women find themselves enslaved by circumstance rather than free to make autonomous decisions. This project aims to reduce the opportunities and reasons for authorities to repress women as they try to better their lives. Solutions designed to improve the rights and living standards of women often focus on doling out more aid money, only to fail because local policies and customs prevent women from taking advantage of their own talents. This project would illustrate the value of targeting specific repressive public policies that make it impossible for women to forge their own paths out of poverty.
Atlas Network believes that institutional change is unlikely to last if imposed by outsiders who are unfamiliar with local customs. Change must be developed from within, both to ensure buy-in and, more importantly, as a means to discover the unique cultural mechanisms necessary for informal norms to transition smoothly to well-functioning formal systems. By working with local institutions to build support for change, the project is laying a lasting foundation for freedom to flourish.