The United States continues to work hard to advance women's equality, protect the rights of women and girls, and promote women and youth empowerment programs around the world. To help shepherd this goal, President Donald J. Trump launched the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative yesterday by signing a National Security Presidential Memorandum. This initiative will ensure women around the world are empowered and have the resources needed to meaningfully participate in, contribute to, and benefit from economic opportunities.
The W-GDP Initiative will support women in the economy around the world to help them thrive in the workforce, launch businesses, and create value for their communities. Through this Initiative, the Unites States will aim to reach 50 million women across the developing world by 2025, boosting global gross domestic product and advancing peace, security, and stability for all.
W-GDP is the U.S. Government’s first integrated approach to global women’s economic empowerment across multiple U.S. Government departments and agencies. The initiative will focus on three critical pillars for women’s economic empowerment: workforce development and skills training; entrepreneurship and access to capital; and the overall enabling environment of policies, laws, and social norms that affect women’s economic participation.
Much of the W-GDP’s work will build on the U.S. Government’s already extensive efforts to promote economic and policy reforms, including through technical assistance to help partner countries draft regulations or legislation that combats discrimination and reduces barriers to women’s economic participation. More than 100 countries still have laws in place that prohibit women from working in specific jobs, resulting in legal restrictions on 2.7 billion women that prevent their access to the same employment choices as men.
Research shows that if women participated in labor markets equally to that of men, as much as $12 trillion could be added to global annual GDP by 2025.
The W-GDP Initiative is grounded in the priorities of President Trump’s 2017 National Security Strategy and will support U.S. leadership abroad in fostering the increased self-reliance in developing countries that enables their transformation into security and economic partners.
The larger the gap between opportunities for men and women, the more likely a country is to be involved in conflict. When women are empowered economically, they invest in their families and communities, spurring economic growth and creating more stable societies. Nations in which women have equal opportunities are more likely to thrive and solve challenges peacefully.
A healthy and stable global economy is critical to achieving economic prosperity and security for the United States. True global economic health and stability is only possible when women and men can both contribute to economies at all levels.
When women are empowered to reach their economic potential, it creates conditions for increased prosperity, peace, and stability around the globe.
About the Author: Rahima Kandahari serves as Acting Director of the Office of Global Women's Issues at the U.S. Department of State.
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