Eliminating economic barriers for women grows economies

Horseshoe-shaped table with participants seated around it (State Dept./Freddie Everett)
Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, White House adviser Ivanka Trump and others at the State Department on February 12. (State Dept./Freddie Everett)

A White House initiative hopes to reach 50 million women across the developing world by 2025.

“We can work to empower millions of women to lift their families out of poverty, to grow the economies in their country, to reduce dependence, and to deliver on the promise of greater peace and prosperity,” White House adviser Ivanka Trump said February 12 to mark the first anniversary of the White House’s Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative (W-GDP).

Since its launch, W-GDP has reached over 12 million women — and that number promises to grow, Trump said at the U.S. State Department.

Graphic with quote from Ivanka Trump on empowering women entrepreneurs (State Dept./Helen Efrem)The initiative increases workforce training and entrepreneurship opportunities for women in emerging markets through private-public partnerships. It also addresses the legal and societal strictures that impede women’s participation in their countries’ economies, including women’s ability to own property and work in the same jobs and sectors as men.

Following high-level engagement from the White House and adviser Trump, two countries — Côte D’Ivoire and Morocco — amended laws last year that previously prevented women from owning property and land. But 75 other countries still have laws that do not allow women to own, manage or inherit property.

To address these issues, Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo announced the creation of a State Department unit dedicated to the initiative, under the leadership of Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Kelley E. Currie.

“The need for the W-GDP is clear and it’s urgent,” Pompeo said. “Too many barriers have kept women from opportunities in far too many parts of the world.”

Close-up of Mike Pompeo with his quote on women's achievements overlaid (State Dept./Ron Przysucha)