White House launches women’s economic empowerment initiative

Press Release Subtitle

White House WGDP initiative has promise, but still ignores essential issues for women’s health

Press Release Date

07 February 2019

Press Release Author

Kirsten Sherk, [email protected]

A statement from Lyric Thompson, director of policy and advocacy  of the International Center for Research on Women, on the Women’s Global Development & Prosperity Initiative launched today by the White House:

“I’m delighted to see the Administration intends to put new resources on the table for this work, which is always a concern, and also to see the focus on women at both ends of the economic spectrum, from women business leaders to women at the bottom of the economic pyramid.

“I’m also pleased to see a number of underlying issues that shape whether and to what extent women are economic actors. Not only will the initiative address women’s formal economic participation — as workers or business owners — but, importantly, it will examine broader discrimination and inhibitors to their economic participation. The focus on what they are calling “enabling environment” issues, such as land rights, gender-based violence or the burden of unpaid care work that women and girls disproportionately shoulder, is heartening.

“However, notably absent is perhaps the biggest contributing factor to a woman’s economic participation: women’s health, specifically her ability to plan whether or when to have children. Research by ICRW and a host of other institutions points to this link; so this is an obvious omission. This is not surprising, given that this Administration has targeted reproductive health for attack, reinstating and dramatically expanding the Mexico City Policy or Global Gag Rule, conditioning lifesaving healthcare for poor women on an ideological opposition to abortion.

“Ironically, on the very same day as Ivanka Trump launched her White House initiative, on the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue a group of more than 200 lawmakers, led by women in both chambers of Congress, reintroduced legislation that would permanently repeal this harmful and ineffective policy. So two steps forward today — albeit in opposite directions — for U.S. treatment of women around the world.”

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Mission Statement:

ICRW is the premier applied research institute focused on women and girls. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with regional offices in India and Uganda, ICRW provides research and analysis to inform programs and policies that promote gender equality and help alleviate poverty.