Trump administration acts to close the ‘digital gender gap’

The Trump administration has unveiled the “WomenConnect Challenge” to connect more women and girls online.

“This administration is working hard to bridge the digital gender divide in this country and around the globe!” Ivanka Trump, adviser to the president, tweeted after taking part in a March 8 White House event kicking off the WomenConnect Challenge.

In an increasingly connected world, women lag behind in access to the internet. That gap in internet usage between men and women has grown steadily during the past three years, according to the U.S Agency for International Development, which is sponsoring the initiative. More than 1.5 billion women in low- and middle-income countries, for example, still do not own mobile phones, USAID said.

The first round of the WomenConnect Challenge will provide more than $1 million for solutions to increase women and girls’ access to, and the use of, digital technology.

“Through closing the digital gender gap, women can help pull their families out of extreme poverty and serve as active participants and leaders in their societies,” USAID said.

Ivanka Trump joined with USAID Administrator Mark Green in making the announcement, which took place on International Women’s Day.

The White House noted other administration efforts to expand women’s economic opportunities:

  • Canada-United States Council for Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders, which supports women owning their businesses.
  • World Bank’s Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative, which aims to help women in developing countries get access to the networks needed to start a business.
  • Women, Peace, and Security Act, signed by President Trump last October, which encourages women to participate in American diplomatic, development and defense operations.