Ivanka Trump Continues Women Empowerment Agenda Amid Pandemic 

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WASHINGTON – This week the Trump administration introduced $122 million in new packages and partnerships underneath the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) initiative, and the discharge of 10 interagency W-GDP authorized reform motion plans to handle the authorized and cultural obstacles to ladies’s financial participation all through the world.   

W-GDP is billed as a “whole of government approach” looking for to succeed in 50 million ladies throughout the creating world by 2025, with a three-pillar aim —  offering vocational coaching for ladies; empowering ladies to succeed as entrepreneurs; and eliminating authorized and coverage obstacles stopping ladies’s financial participation.   

Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump, National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien and Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun delivered the announcement with digital appearances by personal sector companions together with Walmart, Microsoft and Mastercard.   

National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien speaks throughout a Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) on-line occasion, on the State Department, in Washington, Aug. 11, 2020.

“This is the type of bold action to expand the efforts of the federal government, the private sector and other partners that restrict women’s ability to participate in the local economies that has been the American model for success,” Trump mentioned.     

The initiative comes within the face of contemporary challenges as COVID-19 exacerbates current gender inequalities world wide. Reports from quite a few nations have proven that girls are disproportionately and uniquely impacted by the coronavirus throughout each sphere, from well being and the financial system to safety and social safety.   

According to U.N. knowledge, 60 % of ladies’s employment is within the casual financial system with restricted safety. This means ladies are sometimes missed by bailout packages looking for to reinvigorate the financial system whereas being significantly susceptible to poverty and meals insecurity, in accordance with Megan O’Donnell, assistant director of the Center for Global Development’s gender program. “We’ve seen evidence that women’s businesses are more likely to close compared with men’s.”   

FILE – Vicky Li Yip units up a bubble machine for her youngsters, left to proper, Kelsey, 8, Toby, 10 and Jesse, 5, exterior their residence, July 10, 2020, in Houston, Texas.

And with youngsters out of faculty, ladies are selecting up much more caregiving duties, forcing many to step again from the office and exacerbating the financial penalties of the unpaid care work that girls disproportionately carry out. Moreover, ladies face a rise in home violence because of lockdowns, and discover much less entry to sexual and reproductive well being as restricted sources are diverted to the pandemic.   

Women additionally make up 70 % of healthcare staff worldwide risking their lives to avoid wasting others, in accordance with the World Health Organization.   

“Advancing women’s economic participation in the midst of the COVID crisis will require attention to these issues — something the W-GDP initiative should take into account to deliver on its promise,” mentioned Jamille Bigio, senior fellow within the Women and Foreign Policy program on the Council on Foreign Relations.   

Women as financial drivers 

 W-GDP believes that girls shouldn’t be seen as victims who’re ready for any individual to come back and save them, however needs to be seen because the drivers of financial restoration from the pandemic, mentioned Kelley Currie, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues.   

“We are focused on how the barriers to women’s participation can be removed so that women can be full participants in the economy and how they can drive prosperity and growth,” mentioned Currie.   

Still some observers query whether or not the initiative’s restricted scope and comparatively small finances of $100 million underneath the W-GDP Fund will likely be sufficient to fulfill the problem.   

Though W-GDP has grown steadily from its preliminary $50 million allocation, it’s nowhere close to the tens of billions invested in PEPFAR  for instance, mentioned Megan O’Donnell, referring to the initiative to handle the worldwide HIV/AIDS epidemic launched by President George W. Bush in 2003.   

“To match the scale of the problem, W-GDP will need to be able to support at-scale solutions,” O’Donnell mentioned, including that the probability of success will enhance if these implementing the initiative have elevated monetary sources at their disposal.   

Reproductive well being   

W-GDP has been lauded for guaranteeing {that a} vary of U.S. authorities businesses together with USAID, Millennium Challenge Corporation, Development Finance Corporation, Peace Corps and others feed into its three-pillar technique and report their progress in accordance with a regular set of metrics. But its largest criticism stays that the initiative, according to broader Trump administration insurance policies, ignores investments that help ladies’s well being, sexual and reproductive rights, and mitigate gender-based violence.   

FILE – President Donald Trump speaks with reporters on the South Lawn of the White House, July 31, 2020.

In his first week in workplace, President Donald Trump reinstated and expanded the Global Gag rule, also called the Mexico City coverage, that prohibits U.S. world well being help organizations from offering data, sources, or providers on protected abortions.

In 2018, the State Department eliminated reproductive well being from its annual nation studies, and in May 2020, USAID appearing administrator John Barsa despatched a letter to the U.N. Secretary-General demanding that sexual and reproductive healthcare be faraway from the U.N.’s COVID-19 response plan.   

“All the collaboration in the world cannot erase the fact that the overall women’s rights legacy of the Trump administration is one that is anti-women and anti-rights,” mentioned Amanda Klasing, appearing co-director of the ladies’s rights division at Human Rights Watch. “If the Trump administration keeps actively attacking sexual and reproductive rights at every opportunity and failing to address gender-based violence, the W-GDP successes are just on paper.”   

FILE – U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Kelley Currie attends an occasion celebrating the anniversary of the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) initiative on the State Department in Washington, Feb. 12, 2020.

Responding to VOA’s query, Kelley Currie, the State Department’s ambassador-at-large for world ladies’s points, defended the initiative.   

W-GDP is “very focused” and “very consensus-based,” Currie mentioned. “We believe that this is the best way that we can use the resources we have to address the barriers that are holding back women.”  




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