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Newman’s Own Foundation Funds Improvements in Women’s Right to Information

Featured February 2020

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Through its support of The Carter Center, Newman’s Own Foundation helps fight global gendered information asymmetries and empowers women to more fully participate in public life in Bangladesh, Guatemala, and Liberia.

For more than two decades, The Carter Center has promoted the right of access to information. Through this work, it became clear that women were not able to exercise their fundamental right to information as easily or as successfully as men. Funding The Carter Center since 1989, Newman’s Own Foundation began focusing their support in 2012 on the Center’s women and access to information programing. This initiative – under the Center’s Rule of Law Program – strives to raise awareness of the value of women’s right of access to information and the obstacles they face and supports local government and civil society partners to address these challenges to increase information flows to women to transform lives.

  • A woman stands in the doorway of her store in Monrovia, Liberia.

    A woman in Monrovia, Liberia, stands outside her store after finishing the Real Estate Village Saving and Loan Association’s vocational school skills training, which she learned about through accessing public information. Photo credit: The Carter Center/S. Umstattd

Women and the Right of Access to Information
More than 115 countries around the world claim a statutory right to information; yet, in many of these countries, half of the population is limited in their enjoyment of the right to information and the myriad benefits it provides. In the rare instances when requests for information are disaggregated by gender, statistics demonstrate that women do not access information at the same rate as men.

While women are the least likely to demand access to information, they are the most in need of it. Women continue to form the largest block of the world’s poor, representing an estimated 70% of the 1.3 billion people living in poverty. With access to meaningful information, women can make more effective decisions and utilize opportunities for education, property ownership, agricultural production, and starting a business. The right of women to access information is essential to their economic empowerment, participation in public life, and the promotion and protection of their human rights. Yet, women from all walks of life and regions of the world continue to be denied access to critical public information they need to transform their own lives.

With support from Newman’s Own Foundation, The Carter Center builds the capacity of government to implement access to information legislation with gender sensitivity and to employ creative solutions to ensure meaningful information is reaching women. Armed with access to information about government policies and opportunities, women are empowered to make more effective decisions about their livelihoods and their lives. By supporting women to exercise their right of access to information, the Center and Newman’s Own Foundation strive to bridge cultural gender gaps and, ultimately, increase women’s empowerment. As with genuine access to information, women can take advantage of opportunities to transform their lives, families, and communities.

With the dedicated support of Newman’s Own Foundation, the Center’s Women and Access to Information initiative continues to empower women to exercise their right to information. The Carter Center is honored to receive funding from Newman’s Own Foundation in this effort and looks forward to a future of collaborative global impact.

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