Funding promotes gender equality in diplomatic and development efforts by raising the status, increasing participation, and ensuring women and girls’ human rights worldwide. Programs seek to strengthen women’s participation as political leaders and their capacity as citizens to constructively engage government in key democratic processes and contribute to community-based conflict mitigation efforts.
What does it buy?
Funds promote women’s leadership, political participation, and economic empowerment. Programming prevents and responds to gender-based violence, including child marriage and female genital mutilation and cutting, and promotes cross-cutting objectives related to women and girls’ wellbeing, security, and inclusion in peace-building processes.
Why is it important?
Women and girls are chronically undervalued members of society, facing significant challenges in both humanitarian and development contexts.
Gender inequality costs everyone. Children of young and poorly educated mothers are more likely to die before the age of five, suffer malnutrition, and perform poorly in school.
In 2015, the McKinsey Global Institute found that if women participated in the economy equally with men, it would add up to $28 trillion, or 26%, to the annual global GDP by 2025.
Research shows that societies with greater gender equality experience faster economic growth, better outcomes for children, and more representative government institutions. And yet, 62 million girls are still not in school.
Globally, more than 650 million women were married as children, and an estimated 12 million girls under 18 are married each year.
Married girls are often unable to complete their education, lack economic opportunities, and face increased risks from early pregnancy, childbirth, and intimate partner violence, all of which perpetuate a cycle of poverty.
1 in 3 women will experience gender-based violence in their lifetime.
Why should Americans care?
A conclusive body of research and experience has shown that when women and girls are meaningfully included in all aspects of decision-making, countries are more likely to be peaceful and prosperous.
For example, peace agreements are more likely to be reached and implemented when women have influence in the negotiation process.
Investing in girls’ secondary education increases her lifetime earnings and her country’s national growth rate, while depressing child marriage and mother and child mortality rates.
COVID-19 is exposing already present disparities between women and men in the workforce. According to a recent study, women are 1.8 times more likely to lose their employment as a result of the pandemic—currently, women make up 39% of global employment. Yet, they account for 54% of overall job losses.
Since the beginning of the crisis, data have shown an increase in calls to domestic violence hotlines worldwide. In many instances, resources and efforts have been diverted away from addressing violence against women to immediate pandemic relief.
What more could be done?
The Administration should ensure that all foreign assistance takes gender into account and is shaped by a gender analysis with the goal that 20% of international assistance funding has gender equality as a primary objective.
Funding levels may not accurately reflect those in the appropriations bills and/or reports due to rounding.