Women's Economic Empowerment

  • Women Prospering in the Workplace: Engendering Utilities to Promote Self-Reliance

    Learn More
  • Women Succeeding as Entrepreneurs: Sharmila Anandasabapathy develops ‘Lego-like’ solution for patient care

    Learn More
  • Women Enabled in the Economy: Women’s Property Rights in Kosovo — Claiming What Is Granted by Law

    Learn More

Speeches Shim

Realizing Women’s Economic Potential

The United States recognizes the critical role of women's economic empowerment in achieving prosperity and peace, as the 2017 National Security Strategy [PDF, 1.7MB] makes clear:

“Societies that empower women to participate fully in civic and economic life are more prosperous and peaceful.”  

Women make up half the human population — and can act as key drivers of global growth and national security.  At USAID, we believe that investing in gender equality and women’s empowerment can help eradicate extreme poverty, build vibrant economies, and unlock human potential on a transformational scale.

Icon: A bar graph trending upward
$12 trillion by 2025 → If the same number of women as men particpated in the global economy, global GDP would grow by $12 trillion by 2025.
Icon: Digital devices
$18 billion in 144 developing countries → Providing online and mobile access to 600 million women could contribute $18 billion to GDP growth in 144 developing countries.
Icon: A dollar bill
An 18% better bet → Women are 18 percent more likely than men to pay back small business loans.


The Way Forward

On February 7, 2019, the White House launched the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative, which will bring women’s economic empowerment to the forefront of the U.S. Government’s development agenda.  W-GDP establishes an innovative new fund at USAID to enable women to succeed in the economy in the developing world.

The initiative focuses on three pillars:

  1. Pillar One: Advancing workforce development and vocational education to ensure women have the skills and training necessary to secure jobs.

  2. Pillar Two: Promoting women’s entrepreneurship and providing women with access to capital, markets, technical assistance and networks.

  3. Pillar Three: Striving to remove the legal, regulatory and cultural barriers that constrain women from being able to fully and freely participate in the economy.

Workforce Development

Workforce development and skills training for women and girls help pave the way for economic empowerment.

USAID will continue to improve women’s and girls’ access to quality education and training — including training with educational opportunities closely linked with employer needs. These can lead to higher-paying, middle-skill jobs including high -growth, in-demand occupations — such as those jobs in the STEM fields.

Women Entrepreneurs

Women entrepreneurs are an emerging world-wide market force and an important source of innovation and job creation. However, they often do not have equal access to the capital and business networks they need to sustain and expand their businesses.

USAID will continue to fund efforts to support women who want to start and scale up their businesses, which creates prosperity and stability for their families and communities. 

Enabling Environments

Women’s economic empowerment also involves changes to laws, policies, practices and norms that have historically limited women’s potential.

USAID will continue to identify and reduce policy, legal and regulatory barriers to women’s participation in the economy, and promote improved practices that increase women’s economic empowerment.  

At USAID, we work to ensure that all women have the opportunity to reach their full economic potential, to promote prosperity and peace for all.