White House on Track to Help 50 Million Women in Developing World

WASHINGTON—A White House initiative led by President Donald Trump’s daughter and senior adviser Ivanka Trump on Nov. 18 announced its second round of grants worth more than $11 million to help increase women’s access to economic opportunities in the developing countries.

As part of the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) initiative, Ivanka Trump and Mark Green, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) administrator, announced that the money would go to eight organizations in more than 17 countries, including Rwanda, Senegal, and Bangladesh.

White House senior adviser Ivanka Trump (L) tries her hand at a traditional weaving loom in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on April 14, 2019. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo)

The W-GDP earlier set an ambitious goal of reaching 50 million women in the developing world by 2025 through “U.S. government activities, private-public partnerships, and a new, innovative fund housed and managed by USAID.”

Ivanka said that the latest grant would support the digital inclusion of women, which is one of the key objectives of the W-GDP program.

“Women in the digital economy is absolutely critical,” Ivanka said at a W-GDP event she co-hosted with USAID on Nov. 18.

“We know that today in developing countries, there’s a tremendous digital gender gap that exists,” she said, adding that 1.7 billion women in low- and middle-income countries still do not have a mobile connection. She also noted that the Internet gender gap was as high as 40 percent in some countries.

Green and Ivanka also announced that the W-GDP fund secured an additional $50 million in the fiscal year 2018, increasing the total size of the fund to $100 million for its first year.

In February, President Donald Trump launched the W-GDP initiative—”the first whole-of-government effort” to improve women’s economic empowerment globally. He has asked for $100 million for the fund in his most recent proposal for the budget for the fiscal year 2020.

The initiative has three key objectives: to help women prosper in the workforce, to support them as entrepreneurs, and to advance economic equality under the law.

Farmer Aicha Bourkib talks to Ivanka Trump, the daughter and senior adviser to President Donald Trump, in the province of Sidi Kacem, Morocco, on Nov. 7, 2019. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo)

In July, the W-GDP announced its first round of grants worth $27 million for 14 projects that will benefit 100,000 women in 22 countries.

Ivanka said that the objective of the program is to help women reach their full economic potential and “unleash the most underdeveloped resource” in the world. She added that the program has encouraged the same type of U.S. policies in other countries to help improve women’s access to capital and business opportunities.

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Author: Emel Akan