The United States on Thursday announced the launch of the new Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative (WGDP) with the aim of reaching 50 million women across the world by 2025.
The White House rolled out the plan as U.S. President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka promoted it in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, across social media and in a presentation with key stakeholders. “When women are free to thrive, they bring national stability, as well as more jobs and economic growth,” said Ivanka Trump. “Expanding women’s economic participation has the potential to boost global economic output by an additional $12 trillion by 2025.”
The U.S. is committing an initial $50 million to a new fund at USAID, the government’s international development arm, but the WGDP represents a coordinated effort across U.S. agencies and partners.
The WGDP plan rests on three pillars. The first will promote education, training and related workforce development programs for women. The second pillar is designed to boost financial inclusion with credit access and investment in women-owned businesses in the developing world. The third focuses on removing legal and cultural barriers – such as laws preventing women from certain professions or holding bank accounts – so that women can thrive, and so in turn will their communities.
Global leaders including Christine Lagarde of the International Monetary Fund welcomed the WGDP announcement.
“Over one billion women and girls don’t have access to a bank account, the loans required to grow their businesses, and the quality skills training and employment opportunities they need to be fully empowered,” said Tom Hart, the North America executive director for the ONE campaign. “This new initiative is a positive, bipartisan step towards reducing some of the inequalities that far too many women and girls face everywhere, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.”