Today, on International Women’s Day, USAID Administrator Samantha Power, along with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Acting Director Shalanda Young, previewed that the President’s 2023 Budget will request approximately $2.6 billion for foreign assistance programs that promote gender equity and equality worldwide, more than doubling the amount requested for gender programs in the previous year. This marks the largest-ever gender budget request and would fund programming led by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the State Department, with USAID taking forward the majority of this historic budget request to advance gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls around the world. Administrator Power, Secretary Blinken, and OMB Acting Director Young, joined White House Gender Policy Council Director Jennifer Klein for an event at the White House to mark the historic announcement.
The budget request aligns with the Administration’s National Strategy for Gender Equity and Equality, the first strategy of its kind. It also supports a pledge Administrator Power made during her New Vision for Global Development speech last November to double USAID’s gender equality investments. USAID is committed to put local women and girls at the center of global development and humanitarian work, recognizing that by partnering with women-led organizations and companies, the Agency can build safer, healthier, and more prosperous communities while strengthening local capacity to continue the work long after USAID’s support ends.
These investments are critical as significant challenges continue to disproportionately impact women and girls, including climate change, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and conflicts and humanitarian emergencies in Ukraine, Ethiopia, Yemen and many other places, including the significant curtailment of the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan. The request also includes $200 million for the Gender Equity and Equality Action (GEEA) Fund, which advances the economic security of women and girls globally.
With the additional resources, USAID will support the implementation of the National Strategy for Gender Equity and Equality by advancing programs to prevent and respond to gender-based violence; supporting the political, economic and social empowerment of women and girls, recognizing their intersecting identities; and addressing the gender norms and inequities impacting women and girls, men and boys, and individuals of other gender identities.
USAID will strive to improve the lives of women and girls starting the day they are born, with particular attention to those who face multiple forms of discrimination, such as adolescent girls and young women, Indigenous women, women and girls in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI+) community, women with disabilities, and racial, ethnic, and religious minorities.
The additional funding will help USAID:
- Expand USAID’s reach to help millions more primary and secondary-school-aged girls get the education they need to pursue their dreams.
- Build Back Better from the COVID-19 pandemic. Globally, women comprise only 39 percent of the labor force, but represent well over half of pandemic-related job losses around the world. USAID will invest in expanding accessible, affordable, and high-quality child care services; address barriers to women accessing well-paying jobs; and help women entrepreneurs grow their businesses.
- Advance women’s and girls’ civic and political leadership through an initiative to build a pipeline of civic-minded and politically interested women and girls, while helping them exercise their rights and achieve greater representation.
- Make progress in creating a world free of gender-based violence so that everyone can participate fully—and safely—in society.
- Invest in increasing access to quality health care for young people of all gender identities, including age- and developmentally-appropriate investments in their sexual and reproductive health and rights.
- Advance women’s and girls’ leadership and participation to help tackle the climate crisis, support their resilience to climate change, and increase their access to green jobs and climate finance, recognizing they are a powerful and integral part of the solution to climate change.
- Advance a gender-transformative approach in humanitarian response that promotes women’s leadership, prioritizes support and advocacy for gender-based violence prevention and response programming, and shifts funding, influence, and decision making power to girls and women within humanitarian response systems.
This International Women’s Day also marks the one-year anniversary of EO 14020, which established the first-ever White House Gender Policy Council and called for a National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality to advance the full participation of all people—including women and girls . This strategy was released in October 2021, and USAID and other federal agencies are creating plans in service of this whole-of-government approach to advancing gender equity and equality in the United States and around the world.