Statement by USAID Administrator Mark Green on International Women's Day

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For Immediate Release

Sunday, March 8, 2020
Office of Press Relations
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President Trump's National Security Strategy states, "There can be no moral equivalency between nations that uphold the rule of law, empower women, and respect individual rights and those that brutalize and suppress their people."  Today, as we do every day, we at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) put these words into action in celebration of International Women's Day.

At USAID, we are committed to empowering women and girls across the globe to advance communities in our partner countries on the Journey to Self-Reliance because we know no country can succeed if it excludes the talents and voices of half its population.  When women do better, countries do better, communities do better, and families do better.

Women's empowerment has long been a part of USAID's work - from creating an enabling environment for women to succeed economically, to reducing and responding to gender-based violence, to ensuring women have a leadership seat at the political and peace-making tables.  

While we need to do much more, over the last year, we have made progress and seen success.  We recently commemorated the first anniversary of two important Administration-led efforts: The signing of the Women's Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment (WEEE) Act, on January 9, 2020, and the launch of the Women's Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative, on February 7, 2020.  

The bipartisan WEEE Act strengthens our programs by ensuring we integrate the promotion of women's empowerment and equality between women and men throughout all that we do across USAID.  The White House-led W-GDP Initiative brings a new energy and comprehensive, whole-of-Government approach to women's economic empowerment, one that involves every part of the Executive Branch, from office to Department and Agency, from U.S. Embassies and USAID's field Missions abroad to the Oval Office itself. The White House also established a catalytic W-GDP investment fund at USAID.   In the last year, the W-GDP Initiative has already reached 12 million women around the world: nearly nine million of those women were direct beneficiaries of USAID's programming and partnerships.  It also is bringing new resources, new analytic metrics, and a laser-sharp focus on breaking down the barriers that prevent women from having their place at the economic table.  

In June of last year, the U.S. Government released the U.S. Strategy on Women, Peace, and Security (WPS), which aims to advance women's meaningful participation in preventing and resolving conflict, countering violent extremism and terrorism, and building post-conflict peace and stability.  These actions build on the recognition that societies that empower women economically and politically are more prosperous and peaceful.  

We are also committed to ensuring everyone is able to benefit from USAID's assistance without fear of sexual exploitation or abuse.  USAID's Policy on Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA), launched on March 5, 2020, is the result of an intensive and collaborative consultation process with staff, implementing partners, and international donors.  The policy promotes a safe working and living environment for everyone whose lives we touch.

Collectively, these significant strides in policies and programs cement our dedication to improving the status of women and girls worldwide, and to upholding our commitment to protect the dignity of all people.  We know we can achieve greater and more sustainable development outcomes by continuing to place gender equality and women's empowerment at the heart of our work.