Tempers are flaring these days from both sides of the aisle, so it’s a rare relief to see both sides come together for a higher purpose. Here’s one of those times: Democrats and Republicans leaders signed on to support a women’s economic empowerment initiative launching this week called the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative (W-GDP).
Led by Ivanka Trump, W-GDP’s target is to empower 50 million women in the developing world by 2025. It’s aiming to be a whole-of-government approach (e.g. State Department, Treasury Department, Congress, etc.) focused on advancing women’s full and free participation in the global economy. This week President Trump signed a National Security Presidential Memorandum and directed the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to allocate an initial $50 million for the new W-GDP Fund.
The W-GDP Initiative has three pillars of focus: 1) Helping women’s access to quality education and skills training 2) Funding and in-kind support for women’s entrepreneurship and access to capital, markets, technical assistance, and mentorship 3) Working to identify and reduce the policy, legal, and regulatory barriers to women’s participation in the global economy and promote improved practices.
Sadly, women are legally restricted from working in specific jobs in 104 countries, preventing more than 2.7 billion women from having the same job choices as men. Despite making up half of the world’s population, women only own one-third of formal businesses worldwide and have less—or no—access to financial services, supply chain markets and legal writes to own or inherit property.
The W-GDP initiative is a bold program full of promise to tangibly improve the lives of millions of women and families around the world. It is a purpose-filled coalition of private, government and NGO partners–the exact stakeholders we need to leverage opportunities for women in emerging markets.
Women face tremendous cultural, regulatory and legal barriers to compete fairly in the marketplace–denied the dignities inherent in the most basic definition of human rights. W-GDP has the potential to reverse these disheartening conditions. As a female entrepreneur blessed to be born in the United States, I am thrilled to watch W-GDP progress to bring America’s hope to women around the globe.
Photo by usaid.ethiopia
Carrie Sheffield is the founder of Bold. She is passionate about storytelling to empower and connect others. A founding POLITICO reporter, Carrie contributed on political economy at Forbes and wrote editorials for The Washington Times. After earning a master’s in public policy from Harvard University, she managed credit risk at Goldman Sachs and researched for Edward Conard, Bain Capital founding partner and American Enterprise Institute scholar. She earned a B.A. in communications at Brigham Young University and completed a Fulbright fellowship in Berlin.